Off-Topic Argument: What makes a Franchise?

(While the Sharks continue to confuse everyone with baffling signings of mediocre players (Wooo for Nichol though!) here is something that's been on my mind lately.)

I was listening to comedian Bill Burr's podcast recently and he was talking with noted sports historian Nick Swardson about what it was like being a Celtics fan living in Los Angeles. Mostly it was them just whining (it was pretty funny though) but Burr actually had one really interesting point: is it right for Los Angeles Lakers fans to claim the championships the franchise won when they were in Minnesota?

At first it seems obvious - of course, it's still the same franchise. Why wouldn't they? But Burr follows up with this hypothetical: imagine the Lakers moved to Las Vegas during the off-season and then won the championship in 2010-11. How would you feel about the Las Vegas Lakers fans gloating about their "seventeen championships bitch!"

Since we likely have a lot of Lakers fans in the audience here, it may be useful to try a different mental picture: imagine the Celtics moving to San Francisco. Imagine all these new fans of the Celtics springing up in San Francisco and being huge assholes (as all sports fans are) and then bragging about their "eighteen championships!" How would that feel?

There's no real answer to this, it's just interesting to consider. Obviously most people would agree that moving to a new city doesn't mean a franchise should ignore all of its history. And other sorts of changes, like a new team name, arena, owner, or players, also don't break the connection to past championships in most people's eyes. But what about ALL those things? What if the Canadiens moved to Portland, fired all of their players and staff, changed ownership, and became the Portland Porcupines? Are they still the same team? Should their new fans be proud of their history?

Please leave your pointless opinions in the comments.

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