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Evolution of My Sports Fandom

March 29, 2016
College basketball – I am from North Carolina. My grandfather went to Duke, but in my family, we have always supported every North Carolina school in basketball. We may have recognized the rivalries when they played each other, as we had our preferred teams, but outside of that, we supported every North Carolina college basketball team, specifically in the ACC. When it came time for me to choose my favorite college basketball team, I chose the school of Michael Jordan, James Worthy, and Dean Smith: UNC. They have been my favorite college basketball team for more than 30 years.
NBA – As a kid, I was a Lakers fan, due mostly to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and to a lesser extent due to Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Pat Riley. As I got a little older, I read about Wilt Chamberlain, and eventually became a bigger fan of Magic Johnson than of Kareem. Also, my dad was a Celtics fan, so I rebelled. All of these things led me to being a big Lakers fan in the 80s and 90s. Then, when Kobe and then Shaq joined the team, I decided I could no longer be a Lakers fan. I didn’t care for either of them, but especially Kobe. I don’t really watch a lot of NBA basketball anymore. In fact, I basically never watch it anymore, but the one team I consider myself a fan of these days would be the Atlanta Hawks. They were my second favorite team growing up, due to us living in Atlanta when I was a kid, plus they had Dominique Wilkins and Spud Webb. They’re both long gone now, but at least they never had a Shaq or Kobe.
College football – When I was a kid, from 1980 to 1982, we lived in Atlanta. This was when Herschel Walker was at UGA, so we were big Georgia fans at the time. I remained a big Georgia fan up until my oldest sister began attending FSU in the fall of 1987. My primary allegiance switched to FSU that season and FSU remains my team to this day. I still love Georgia and will support them, but not if they’re playing FSU.
NFL – I never much cared for the NFL until 1985. I much preferred college football. But, in 1985, the Chicago Bears were killing it. I got to know more about the team, including Walter Payton (my all-time favorite football player) and the Fridge. They were great. I still love the Bears, but I had a crisis in the inaugural season of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. I was a Bears fan foremost, but they were playing the Jaguars, and I ended up cheering more for the Jaguars in that game. So, my emotions got the better of me and made me a Jaguars fan. I will always love the Chicago Bears, and if the Jaguars ever leave Jacksonville, I can love the Bears without restrictions. The Jaguars are my team.
MLB – My longest love affair with a sports team has been with the Atlanta Braves. They have been my team since I was 5 years old, living in Atlanta during the Joe Torre days, watching Dale Murphy, Bob Horner, Bruce Benedict, Phil Niekro, and the rest. I’m now 41. I don’t watch baseball much anymore, but the Braves will always be my team, and Hank Aaron will always be my hero.
College baseball – Not that I care much about college baseball, but my favorite team is FSU.
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