“Always good to see Jack Nicholson courtside for the Lakers,” tweeted Ava Brand on Monday (May 8), right before Los Angeles Lakers took on the Golden State Warriors in game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Before the Lakers faced their in-state rivals, a video played on the jumbotron of the Crypto.com Arena showed how much Jack, 86, has supported the Lakers over the years, and also, a montage of his greatest hits. From A Few Good Men’s “You Can’t Handle The Truth!” to “Here’s Johnny!” from The Shinning to “Wait until they get a load of me” from 1989’s Batman, it was a tribute to a legendary career – and a legendary lakers fan.
Always good to see Jack Nicholson court side for the Lakers pic.twitter.com/vnb6BpSjTl
— Ava Brand (@avabssports) May 9, 2023
The video faded out to show Jack sitting courtside, which got a massive ovation from the fans in the arena. After being absent from the public eye for a year and a half, Jack has returned to the spotlight – mainly to cheer on his beloved Lakers. He sat courtside as LeBron James led the team past the Memphis Grizzlies. During the Apr. 28 game, LeBron, 38, stopped by Jack and his son, Ray, 31, to hug the iconic actor.
Nicholson was a prominent fan at Lakers games over the last fifty years – he first got his season tickets in 1970, per NBA.com. While the L.A. team had its share of celebrity fans, Jack was the most visible, thanks to his trademark dark sunglasses and an ever-present grin. Jack famously adjusted his shooting schedules and personal meetings according to the Lakers’ schedule to catch every big game.
When Kobe Bryant died in 2020, Jack mourned the loss in a rare interview. “Where we think everything’s solid, there’s a big hole in the wall. I was used to seeing and talking to Kobe that…it kills you. It’s just a terrible event,” he said. “I remember the totality of how great a player he was…We’ll think of him all the time, and we’ll miss him.”
Here’s hoping that Jack will make it to the next game. “THE LAKERS ARE 2-0 WITH JACK NICHOLSON THIS SEASON!” tweeted a fan on May 9, after the team defeated the Warriors 104-101, putting L.A. up 3-1 in the semi-finals. Jack watched as Lonnie Walker IV scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, becoming the first Laker with 15 points or more in the fourth quarter of a playoff game since Kobe did it 26 years ago, according to ESPN. “The game ball definitely goes to him,” LeBron said of Lonnie, 24. “We don’t win without him.”
The defending champions are now one loss away from being eliminated from the playoffs. However, as LeBron James can attest, one shouldn’t count out the Warriors when they’re down 3-1.