Los Angeles may be famous for its movies, but this sprawling West Coast city is no slouch when it comes to sport. Several iconic teams and events call Los Angeles home, making a trip to one of the city’s many venues a must in the sports-mad City of Angels.
1. Take me out to the ball park
America’s favourite pastime plays host to one of its most storied franchises, with the Los Angeles Dodgers playing out of the famous Dodger Stadium since 1959. Once the Brooklyn Dodgers before making the cross-country move west, the Dodgers' creaking, crumbling open-air colosseum is one of the most famous in Major League Baseball.
2. Banking baskets, Lakers style
The Dodgers may have the history, but the Lakers have many more championship rings. Starting out in Minneapolis, the Lakers quickly found their feet upon moving to Los Angeles in 1960. Their bitter rivalry with the Boston Celtics is one of the most famous in world sport and the Staples Center is routinely packed to the rafters whenever the Lakers are in town.
3. On ice with the Kings
Ever since NFL franchise the Rams packed up and headed to St Louis in 1994, the hapless Los Angeles Kings have assumed the mantle as the city’s scrappiest team. Though historically one of the city’s least successful teams, the Kings are widely respected for their tenacity – not to mention for bringing Canadian legend Wayne Gretzky to the city in a stunning 1988 deal known simply as “The Trade”.
4. Out of town in Anaheim
Though technically not a part of Greater Los Angeles, the city of Anaheim lies some 40 kilometres south-west of the Los Angeles downtown core. That’s good for the city, because the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are one of baseball’s best-supported teams, making a trip to Angel Stadium a must in the bright summer months.
5. Hoops without the hype
While the Lakers are big, bold and boast plenty of courtside celebrities, the blue-collar Clippers are their NBA co-tenants at the Staples Center. Though they toil in the shadow of their big city brother, catching a Clippers game is a great way to experience an NBA atmosphere without the hassle of trying to source a Lakers ticket.
6. If it quacks like a Mighty Duck
Remember that Disney movie, ‘The Mighty Ducks?’ Well the professional ice hockey team is still around, in renamed form at least, with the Anaheim Ducks plying their trade at the Honda Center in Anaheim. They changed their name in 2005 when Disney sold the team, but the Ducks remain one of the tougher teams to beat in the Western Conference.
7. Stars align at Galaxy
The world game made its mark early on The City of Angels, with the Los Angeles Galaxy one of Major League Soccer’s most successful teams. The club David Beckham once called home play out of the soccer-specific StubHub Center in Carson and matches often sell out, particularly against bitter Californian rivals San Jose Earthquakes.
8. Cheering on the L.A. Marathon
Every March, the streets of Los Angeles transform into a colourful mass of humanity, as thousands of dedicated fitness fanatics pound the pavement in pursuit of the L.A. Marathon’s finish line. Even if you’re not participating, the Marathon is still a great place to offer some vocal encouragement as a well-wishing (and well-rested) spectator.
9. Age-old college rivalry
As far as American college rivalries go, the showdown between the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California is about as intense as it gets. It’s fiercest in American football, where both colleges welcome massive crowds to their respective Rose Bowl and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum homes.
10. Hanging Ten at Surf City
Los Angeles is famous for its beaches, so it’s no surprise that there’s a high-profile stop on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour at Huntington Beach. The U.S. Open of Surfing is one of the calendar’s key events, and you can join thousands of spectators lining the soft sands of a beach popularly referred to as ‘Surf City’.
Words by Mike Tuckerman