The iconic sports team owning the moment by standing behind its players’ convictions.
Sports fans + NBA fans + Los Angeles
The LA Lakers recognized the powerful voices in their ranks and took them on as their own. From Kobe Bryant’s emblematic role-model status to LeBron James’ calls for justice amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, the Lakers supported the voices of their talent and channeled them into a team identity not only for Los Angeles, but for America in 2020.
LA Lakers fans are die-hard when it comes to repping their team, breaking the record for NBA Finals merchandise sales. That loyalty extended into mindset when legendary player Kobe Bryant preached the Mamba Mentality, a self-help ethos that emphasizes playing without fear, mastering your craft and wanting not only to win, but to dominate. Many fans brought that mentality into their fandom, further staking their identity and personal development on the franchise.
Outside of the Lakers Nation fan site and their 3 million Facebook followers, the brand hasn’t flexed its muscles on full participation in their community — choosing instead to give their members a voice. The Lakers’ best demonstration of social capital is seen through their acts of giving. The Lakers and other teams came together to launch "Teams for LA" to sell sports and music gear with proceeds going to support the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, a fund to help people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lakers community strengthened exponentially with the addition of all-star players Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and the resulting six team NBA championships. Lakers fans rank #1 for loyalty and engagement, based on analysis of home revenue, Twitter reach and attendance at away games. Fandom intensified after the community came together to grieve Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter accident and honor his legacy.
The Lakers have been there to help improve the wellbeing of their community, which has returned the favor with loyal fandom. The Lakers partnered with Los Angeles County to turn Staples Center into a 2020 general election Vote Center. Fans have been known to occasionally mobilize against the wishes of the team, such as when thousands gathered in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the Lakers 17th NBA championship win, despite the health pandemic and local government advising against gathering in crowds.