The Lakers have assembled a veteran team of all-stars with the addition of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Finally the people of L.A. will start saying "Clippers who?"
Unfortunately, the purple-and-gold have also partnered with cable giant Time Warner who is having a hard time convincing any other outlet to carry the games.
Right now, unless you have Time Warner cable, you can't see the new look Lakers. DirecTV, Charter, Dish, Cox, Verizon and AT&T's U-verse are all balking at Time Warner's price tag of $3.95 per viewer, thus a big chunk of SoCal will miss Nash's flashy passes and Howard's monster jams. Even people who work for the Lakers.
"I've been a DirecTV customer for years, so I understand what everyone is going through," Lakers executive vice president for business operations Jeanie Buss told Bill Plaschke. "The providers have to decide whether they want to take our channel, and it's the customers who have to be vocal in letting their provider know they want it."
What's a fan to do?
Here are some alternatives to staring at a blacked out LCD screen.
1. Go to a bar. If it was good enough for Charles Bukowski, Kiefer Sutherland and the chicken-wing eating patrons of Hooters, it should be good enough for you. Most bars have multiple TVs, knowledgeable fans and delicious spirits. Cities can be lonesome. Get out of your hillside mansion and hobnob with the common folk.
2. Move to San Diego. Or, better yet, move to Fresno — it's got more class. The Golden State's fifth-largest city (and the nation's 34th largest) is beyond the blackout area and has a more economical cost of living compared to many SoCal cities. [UPDATE: Time Warner says even if you live in San Diego or Fresno, you still will feel the effects of the blackout. San Francisco it is!]
3. Have Laker viewing parties with your friends who actually do have Time Warner. If you can't beat them, join them, right? Odds are you don't see your friends enough anyway: What better reason to reacquaint yourself with the names of their children than saying, "Hey, Ashley, how about moving away from the set so we can watch Metta World Peace manhandle that dude from the Thunder?"
4. Get a guest password from your friend who has a Slingbox. The Slingbox is a miraculous (and legal) device that lets you see content from a TV or a DVR through the web and onto a laptop, iPad, iPhone or Android device. Ask your friend to set you up with a guest password, and faster than you can say "the Jello's jigglin'" you've got the fastbreak Lakers on your iPhone 5.
5. Have a friend FaceTime the fourth quarter for you. One of the nice legacies of Steve Jobs is the iPhone FaceTime feature that allows people to engage in phone calls using video. Who says your phone call can't involve your friend placing his iPhone on a pillow next to the TV? Showtime, indeed!
Do you have a better technique? Please share them in the comments below.