Teams throughout history will obviously meander up and down the rankings over time. Once prominent perennial powers will some day fall from grace. I’m not sure if there’s one college basketball program that has fallen further from the throne than the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Last week they had a celebration of the basketball’s national championship run some 50 years ago. You’d think a city as large as LA and a program with 11 college basketball national championships would have more than 6,000 fans show up to honor those players, coaches, and their accomplishments.
All I can say it that this program has obviously fallen from grace since its powerful runs of the 1960’s and 70’s. UCLA still to this day has more national championship titles than any other college basketball program with Kentucky holding onto 8 in second place.
Speaking of Kentucky, tomorrow night’s matchup between the two storied powerhouses will be the tale of two programs and their followings. Kentucky and John Calipari will travel some 4,000 miles to face Steve Alford’s UCLA Bruins Thursday night at the “historic” Pauley Pavilion. Pauley holds less than half the number of fans than the University of Kentucky’s Rupp arena does and I fully expect them to NOT EVEN COME CLOSE TO FILLING IT TOMORROW NIGHT.
You see, that’s just the sad misconception about UCLA’s “storied” program. Nobody cared then and they sure as hell don’t care now. There’s just too much going on in the City of Angels for anyone to place fighting a horrendous commute to catch a college basketball game.
Sure some of the campus kids will show up and want o be seen on the nationally televised game. I can tell you for certain that more people will be watching this UCLA matchup than any other game they play all year long. The only other game that will even come close is when they faceoff with Daguum Roy and his University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the beautiful Brooklyn basketball arena that Hip Hop Star Jay-Z built for his New Jersey Nets.
The mind-boggling thing about UCLA basketball is why is it that no one cares? The all-time leader in NCAA National Titles UCLA Bruins can’t even fill a tiny arena to honor their storied past. Maybe it’s because they’ve been irrelevant for the last half a century and most people who were fans back in that time frame are either now deceased or confined to a convalescent home.
But UCLA isn’t the only sports program in the city that lacks support. No football team in one of the nation’s top 3 largest cities speaks volumes for the level of interest involved for any sports.
LA isn’t a sports town and really never will be. The fair weathered fans of Los Angeles have better things to do with their time and money.
Sorry Bruins, you’re nothing more than a has been that has a pathetic fan base and following considering the past. You’ve produced some of the greatest payers to every play the game and quite possibly the greatest coach ever to waltz the hardwood.
My overall favorite person from the UCLA past is Bill Walton. He’s the most charismatic and entertaining basketball color commentator do date. Anytime there’s a game called by Bill I tune in to be certain not to miss any of his commentary.
But given all the rich history, the storied program just doesn’t get the following it deserves.