I never understood it – maybe it’s because my Bay Area teams haven’t won a championship since the 49ers won the Super Bowl in 1994.

Still, I just never got the whole, “our city won a championship, so let’s occupy all the police, set fires and break windows” tradition.

Despite planning for it, Los Angeles fell victim to this once again after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship on Thursday night.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

The LAPD brought large numbers of officers into the Staples Center area hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s looting and violence. But fans went on a rampage in some parts of downtown L.A., throwing rocks, shattering windows, rocking cars and setting fire to at least one vehicle and several other objects.

At Figueroa Street and Venice Boulevard, police fired less-than-lethal rounds at fans after they overturned a city parking enforcement vehicle and set fire to orange fire cones. On the LAPD’s tactical frequency, officers at the intersection were heard requesting permission to fire projectiles at a group of men throwing chunks of concrete at them. The permission was granted.

It makes zero sense.

I’m not sure how to get it through the heads of these fans that trashing a city is never a good idea – especially during a budget crisis. Maybe NBA players should make statements to the fans after the game … something along the lines of, “Hey, if you’re a real fan you won’t destroy our city and you’re no fan of mine if you do.” Just an idea.

Another idea: Do something constructive … unpack boxes at a homeless shelter, paint a mural. Don’t tip over dumpsters and light fires.

Instead, according to the Times, incidents included:

  • The YMCA at 11th and Olive was attacked by crowds who smashed windows and tagged walls with graffiti.
  • Crowds rocked and jumped on cars around Figueroa Street and nearby roads.
  • A KCAL-TV Channel 9 news van was attacked by a crowd, which smashed its windows.
  • Groups were seen in several downtown locations knocking down news racks, throwing bottles at officers, setting off firecrackers and defacing signs.


James Spencer can be reached at jspencer@publicceo.com