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Why I'm a fan of the Oakland Raiders

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Here's the story of how I became a Raiders fan. Share yours for a chance to win a $500 Fanatics gift card!

Welcome to the refreshed Silver & Black Pride! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

The story of how Raiderdamus the Great and Powerful came to be a Raider fan is probably a common tale. The Prince of Prognostication, the Sultan of Sages, and the Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah was born in the beautiful city of Oakland, California to a family chock-full of both Raiders and Niners fans. Football was in my blood and every Sunday was a holy day, not necessarily because of church, but because it was the day the family gathered around the blessed altar of football.

But I had one family member who led me down the path I find myself on today. Perhaps some of you had that one uncle or cousin, father or grandfather who showed you what Raider Nation was all about? For me that was my uncle Gordy. My dad's family were all big Raider fans, but Gordy was the one who more often than not was decked out in Raider gear from head to toe and could tell stories of Raider teams going back to the 60's. He was a bombastic, larger than life figure. He lived like a Raider, and he even looked like a Raider. To me, he was an avatar of the Raiders mystique, the Platonic ideal of Al Davis' vision.

In the late 1980s, there was no team hotter than the Niners, and in my home we revered Joe Montana and Jerry Rice as mighty heroes of legend, but in my mind the greatest player was, and always will be, Bo Jackson. As an avid Tecmo Bowl player I can assure you that the tales of Bo's dominance are in no way overstated. Bo could do no wrong, until the dastardly Cincinnati Bengals tackled him out of bounds and dislocated his hip. I was heartbroken.

In the early 1990s when I was yet a mini-Damus, my family moved to the city of Jacksonville, FL. There I played Pop Warner football and got swept up in the fever that came over the city when it was awarded an expansion franchise, the Jaguars. Perhaps if I'd stayed there, I'd be a Jags fan today. What a sad existence that would be. But I did meet Ken Stabler at an autograph signing in Jacksonville, a story I've told in a post I wrote following Stabler's untimely death. Meeting him was a key element in fostering my love for this team.

As I hit my teenage years, living back out West, I had a decision to make. What team would I follow? There is no greater vestige of tribalism remaining in Western culture than in team sports, and football is the most tribal of them all. Which team you support says a lot about you. If you're a Jets fan, it means you're a boor. If you're an Eagles fan, it means you are a loudmouth ass. If you're a Chargers fan, it means you're battling crippling depression. If you're a Seahawks fan, it means you're not old enough to drink. But if you're a Raider fan, it means you're a straight up villain, and you're cool as hell.

As a teenage fan, I watched the Raiders run through the league with the help of one of my childhood legends Jerry Rice, and there was no longer any decision for me to make. My heritage is the Raiders. My image is the Raiders. My job is the Raiders. And when I am gone from this Earth, I want my legacy to be that of the Raiders.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc.  Void where prohibited or restricted by law.  Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.