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Lakers give out hideous ‘California Championship’ t-shirts

Laker fans were surprised with some virtually unwearable free shirts for Game 3

2023 NBA Playoffs - Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Warriors’ giveaway shirts with a normal design and slogan.
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

“Gold-Blooded” is an awkward pun of a slogan, but Golden State Warriors fans have to feel better once they see the merchandise the Lakers are handing out before Game 3.

We count five different fonts in this design, which looks like a high school rally committee panicked the night before homecoming and threw something together. The look basically says, “You will only wear this without the peer pressure of 20,000 other fans forcing you to put it on.”

Obviously, the Lakers don’t have the same requirements as the Warriors, whose promo t-shirts only need to deliver two things: The word “Rakuten” on one of the sleeves, and a loose enough fit that it can be easily worn over a crisp dress shirt, for the fans sitting in the expensive seats.

What the Lakers have chosen is reminiscent of former Atlanta Falcons coach Jerry Glanville and his “California Trophy.” Glanville’s Falcons defeated the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams twice, plus the L.A. Raiders and San Diego Chargers in 1991. That inspired Glanville to buy, and carry around, a gaudy trophy for the “California Championship.”

What happened in 1992? The Falcons and Glanville failed to defend their state title, losing both games to the 49ers by a combined score of 97-20. Yes, they lost the season series by 11 touchdowns (with extra points). If that’s the spirit the Lakers want to evoke with these shirts, Warriors Nation is all for it.

The other problem with the California Championship is that while the Warriors defeated the Sacramento Kings in round one, the Lakers played the Memphis Grizzlies in round one. And the L.A. Clippers swept the season series with the Lakers, and have beaten their cross-town rivals in eleven straight games. Even the BCS wouldn’t award a championship with that kind of regular-season record.

This is not the kind of shirt that Dr. Jerry Buss would create. It is the kind of shirt that comedian and notorious joke thief Jay Mohr would come up with, and he’s engaged to Lakers governor Jeanie Buss.

California Championship aside, these shirts are hideous. Regardless of the outcome of the game, series, or mythical state championship, we should expect to see a lot more of these shirts - on the bodies of the economically disadvantaged in Eastern Europe and Africa.

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