A lot of people are bellowing “Beat LA!” this week who don’t have a clue about where it came from. Even the Outraged Liberal, who knows better (I suspect), invokes not its original meaning, but its obnoxious, chest-thumping reincarnation.
Quick history lesson. In 1982 the Celtics met the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference finals. The Sixers that year were bound for glory, led by Moses Malone, Andrew Toney and a fading but still-vital Julius Erving.
The series came down to a seventh game at the Boston Garden. And as it became clear that the Celtics were going to lose, the classy Boston fans started chanting “Beat LA!” as a way of showing their respect and appreciation for the Sixers.
Correction: The Celtics fans’ chant notwithstanding, the Sixers lost to the Lakers in ’82. The following year they acquired Malone and did, indeed, beat LA.