The man’s commitment level appeared as wobbly as his broken down knees. But that didn’t stop Andrew Bynum from leveling one indirect dig at Lakers fans.
Bynum’s set to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, and his enthusiasm apparently goes beyond inking a two-year, $24 million deal after missing all of last year with the Philadelphia 76ers because of persisting knee issues.
“I haven’t had an opportunity to play for a city that really stands up and really supports the team,” Bynum told Fox Sports Cleveland. “I’m super excited and I can’t wait to see what it’s like.”
Of course, Lakers fans have always received generalized criticism for showing up late at Staples Center, stargazing and only cheering during the big moments. But there’s also Lakers fans who gripe on message boards about the team’s struggles, throw out trade proposals and live and die by every game. Add it all up, though, and the Lakers have become one of the world’s marquee sports brands.
But not in Bynum’s eyes despite winning two NBA championships in seven seasons with the Lakers.
His last season with the Lakers yielded many moments that sparked displeasure among the team’s fans.
Bynum earned an ejection in the Lakers’ Game 4 elimination loss to Dallas after throwing an elbow at J.J. Barea. Bynum’s last season with the Lakers featured his career best in points (18.7) and rebounds (11.8), but it also featured head-scratching episodes. Mike Brown, who’s incidentally coaching Bynum at Cleveland this year, benched him for throwing an ill-advised three pointer in a game. Bynum could be seen refusing to listen to Brown’s demands on the sideline during various games. And Bynum admitted he lacked consistent focus during that season and the playoffs.
That’s why plenty of Lakers fans proclaimed good riddance once they traded Bynum last summer in a four-team, 12-player deal that brought in Dwight Howard. Months later, Bynum the revealed his belief Kobe Bryant stunted his growth. And now, Bynum indirectly took a shot at Lakers fans.
Here’s to guessing those fans will stand up once Bynum returns to Staples Center and show plenty of support toward the Lakers, unlike what they apparently did when Bynum wore the purple and gold.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org