Ward: Ranking celebrity sports spectators
Jimmy Ward | Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Spectators. Fanfare. It’s half of what makes sports awesome. The roar of the crowd, the gasps of anticipation — they all make sports worth watching. You have the diehard fans, the group that shows up to every single game, rain or snow. And then you have the celebrity fans –– some are bandwagoners and some want nothing more than the paparazzi to catch them sitting courtside, but a few of those celebrity fans add so much to the experience of going to a live sporting event that for some people, it is worth the price of admission alone just to be able to say, “I saw ____ at ____.” So, I introduce to you the top 10 celebrity sports spectators.
10. Spike Lee
What better way to start this list than with one of the most iconic celebrity attendees at just about any Knicks game at Madison Square Garden? Being a lifelong Pacers fan, I don’t particularly like Lee, even though the last time the Knicks were good back in 1995, Lee tormented Reggie Miller so much that Miller was fueled to drop 25 points in the fourth quarter of their game five matchup. Not to mention in game one, Miller scored eight points … in nine seconds to spark a comeback victory for the “hicks” from Indiana.
Ah the classic Drake curse. Be wary if the Canadian rap sensation is spotted sporting one of your team’s jerseys. But let’s be real, who doesn’t love watching a basketball game and pointing at the screen with your friends and yelling, “Oh look, it’s Drake!”? The Drake curse just might be all but over after his Toronto Raptors won the title last year, but still, his bandwagon tendencies make fans of other teams wary.
8. Jack Nicholson
To be completely honest, I had never heard of this guy until I saw a few Lakers games and discovered he has had courtside seats at Staples Center before it was even called the Staples Center. Talk about dedication — this guy deserves more credit because whenever the camera panned to him I thought it was Jack Nicklaus.
Oh boy. I love Lizzo’s music but her taste in courtside apparel is … questionable. At public events, especially games at Staples Center in which you are seated courtside and you know all eyes will be on you, there is a thin line between confidence and decency. Say what you want about the artist, but underwear is just not proper attire and I don’t know why she was let into the building or why her publicists didn’t stop her from doing that for that matter. But who knows –– maybe she was just feeling “good as hell.”
6. Leonardo DiCaprio
Face it. Seeing Leonardo DiCaprio anywhere would be cool. Now think of him in his typical ball cap at a sporting event. The epitome of cool.
Rihanna has been distracting NBA superstars on the court for years. And who could blame them? The drop-dead gorgeous singer regularly sells out these arenas, so who thinks she could walk into one and not steal a couple of looks away from the basketball court?
That’s right, Prince also donned the hardwood quite often when he wasn’t breaking out in song. And he usually sat alongside some pretty familiar names himself. Like Spike Lee, who also earned a spot on this list, and Dave Chappelle.
3. Jay-Z and Beyonce
The ultimate power couple also has been known to attend a few basketball games. Their favorite spot? MSG. “Sittin’ courtside, Knicks and Nets give me high five.”
2. Michael Phelps
When Tiger Woods threw on his Sunday red and took the world by storm winning his first major after an 11-year gap, who better to greet him on the 16th tee than 23-time Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps. Phelps is an avid golfer himself and would help the thousands of others who were cheering Tiger on to his fifteenth major victory at none other than Augusta National.
1. Kevin Hart
Sports are usually pretty serious — when people start competing as a means of livelihood, things tend to get a little heated. Sometimes it’s nice to see a little jokester in the mix. The best jokester? Kevin Hart. This seriously little comedian packs a big punch — line and can make even the most tense moments feel a little less agonizing. Also, his drunken mission to hold the Lombardi Trophy after his Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018 is one of the funniest sports stories of all time.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.