The Associated Press
Then-Dodgers manager Joe Torre jokes with actor Billy Crystal during the first half of the Clippers-Lakers game in Oct., 2008.
Let’s be Crystal clear about this: Without L.A., there are no celebrity NBA fans.
So if you’re scripting an A-list of the league’s most loyal season-seat holders, it starts and ends here.
That’s just the fact. Right, Jack?
Sure, we’ve got our share of vapid seen-and-making-a-scene pretty boys and girls who pop in for some TV face time. Zac Efron, front and center.
But to qualify for our first All-NBA All-Star celebrity rosters, we recognize outstanding performance by an actor, musician or otherwise legend in a supporting role for their hometown team.
It’s L.A.-vs.-Everyone Else. Watch how these stars aligning for our simplistic purposes:
== Jack Nicholson: Refs who can’t handle the truth swallow their whistles when he gives them that look from “The Shining.” Visiting coaches make sure they don’t step into his line of vision, or else.
He knows talent, too. Sports Illustrated had a story back in 1976, right after he earned an Oscar for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The Lakers’ Gail Goodrich passed by Nicholson’s courtside seat at the Forum before a game and said, “We really need Chief now,” referring to the large Indian character from the movie. Nicholson replied, holding his hands about a foot apart: “Naw, he can only get this high off the floor.”
That’s why he’s chairman of the Staples Center Chairman’s Room. With Lou Adler as his top assistant.
The starting five:
== Billy Crystal: Analyze this: How can anyone be crazed enough to buy tickets for Clippers game over the last 20 years and keep a sense of humor about it? Who’s laughing now?
== Dustin Hoffman: Everyone else gives the “Kiss-Cam” lip service. He makes it his masterpiece.
== Leonardo DiCaprio: “He sits right behind my wife,” says Kobe Bryant, “and they get a little rowdy.”
== Denzel Washington: Despite the Yankees cap.
== Andy Garcia: Fourth row, opposite the Lakers bench, behind that piercing glare.
The bench: Ice Cube, Flea and Anthony Kiedis from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ashton Kutcher, Tobey Maguire, Edward Norton, Dyan Cannon, Cameron Diaz, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Frank Robinson, Hilary Swank, Will Ferrell, Glenn Frey, Jessica Alba and Penny Marshall. And no Arsenio Hall.
The mascot: Snoop Dogg.
== Spike Lee: Reggie Miller’s little friend is now used by the Knicks in free-agent presentations – although it didn’t sway LeBron James (“We got hoodwinked. Led astray. Hornswoggled,” Lee said of that). With his kid-sized jersey and natural directing ability, he’d do the right thing by buying the franchise and making the Carmelo deal himself.
The starting five:
== Jay Z: His net worth ($150 mil) and co-ownership of the Nets could actually get the franchise moved to Brooklyn. Beyonce, are you coming?
== Woody Allen: Sooner or later, Soon-Yi has to find her own Madison Square Garden floor seat.
== Jimmy Buffett: Refs once bounced the Miami Heat superfan from the home arena for shouting profanities. Coach Pat Riley tried to defend his parrot-head pal and almost got tossed, too.
== Mark Walhberg: Brother Donnie could be bigger in Beantown, but “The Fighter” gives Marky Mark more street cred. That, and “Boogie Nights.” Et tu, Dirk?
== Matt Damon: Phil Jackson reportedly barked at him once during a Lakers-Celtics game: “Sit down and shut the (bleep) up.” Wicked.
The bench: Prince (Minnesota), John Mellencamp (Indiana), Kid Rock and Aretha Franklin (Detroit), Tiger Woods (Orlando), Vince Vaughn and John Cusack (Chicago), Eliza Dushku, Steven Tyler, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner (Boston), Nelly (Charlotte), Alice Cooper (Phoenix) and Usher (Cleveland).
Ex-honorable mention: Eva Longoria (San Antonio).