Not since Kobe Bryant sank his last game-winning jumper have Los Angeles Lakers fans been as hyped for a season to start. With superstar big man Anthony Davis suiting up alongside the legendary LeBron James, the Lakers finally have the talent necessary to climb back to the top of the NBA hierarchy and reclaim the throne.
No pro team in the world sees their stands packed with as many A-listers as the Lakers, and it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the franchise’s famed court side seats will be one of the hottest attractions for Hollywood’s brightest stars in the months to come.
To celebrate the start of what hopes to be one of the most exciting Lakers seasons in years, Delta, the team’s official airline, has partnered with the franchise to spread the love of, and access to, Hollywood’s favorite team courtesy of their new collaborative partnership, the Showtime Seat Exchange. Lakers fans who donate their tickets for one of four designated games will receive a Delta flight to anywhere in the country in return. Each game will benefit one of four partnering charitable organizations: After-School All-Stars LA, Bob Hope USO, Junior Achievement of Southern California and KIPP LA Public Schools. By participating, Lakers ticket holders will be giving deserving fans in the L.A. area an opportunity to watch their favorite team alongside some of Hollywood’s elite talent.
Below, we commemorate the start of a new NBA season and the inaugural year of Delta’s Showtime Seat Exchange program by highlighting a few of the entertainment industry’s most diehard Laker fans:
While the Mexican-born star comes from a traditional soccer culture, she has enthusiastically taken on L.A.’s favorite basketball team as her own. Lakers games are often date nights for Hayek, who can often be seen in attendance alongside her husband, Francois-Henri Pinault.
While many stars like the attention that comes with having premium seats at a Lakers game, the Basketball Diaries star makes futile attempts to go unnoticed while courtside, usually hiding his face under a trademark baseball hat and sunglasses while deflecting attention to one of his famous friends like Toby Maguire, Mark Wahlberg or Kevin Connolly.
However, DiCaprio can’t help but put his fiery demeanor on display at key moments during Lakers games to the point that Kobe Bryant once told NBA.com, “He really gets into the game. They’re pretty passionate fans, so that’s always good.”
Few stars rep Los Angeles as hard as Ice Cube, and he immortalized his love for the Lakers in his all-time classic hit “It Was a Good Day.” Cube credits the arrival of Earvin "Magic" Johnson for his longtime Laker fandom, telling ESPN The Magazine, “It was all Magic. By the time he’s drafted into the league, I’m just starting to understand what basketball was all about, and then he came and won a championship his first year.”
Not only is Ice Cube a regular on the Staples Center sidelines, but the West Coast rap legend is also a frequent guest on ESPN and Fox Sports, where he serves as an unapologetically vocal advocate on behalf of the purple and gold.
He may take a more low-key approach than other celebrity fans, but there’s no doubt that this longtime season ticket holder is a Laker lover through and through. While the actor does catch some flack for wearing a New York Yankees cap while courtside at Staples Center, his frequent presence at games leaves no doubt that he’s a major fan and for one Laker superstar, the feeling is mutual. LeBron James claims that Washington is one of his favorite stars and cites Man on Fire and, of course, He Got Game as two of his favorite movies.
A lot has changed over the years for the Lakers, but if there’s been one constant from Showtime to the Kobe Era to the reign of King James, it’s that this two-time Academy Award winner will be watching it all unfold courtside. Unlike those who take a more incognito approach to watching the game, Nicholson loves to be in the middle of the action, mixing it up with players from both teams.
He’s been there for the good times and the bad, and his support has been as solid as the bronze statues that memorialize Lakers legends in the middle of Star Plaza. It’s for all these reasons and so many more that we declare Nicholson to be the Los Angeles Lakers' No. 1 fan.
If you’re ready for a vacation and want to help deserving families share an arena with Hollywood’s biggest names, donate a pair of tickets to a worthy cause and let Delta fly you to your dream destination. You can learn more about Delta’s new Showtime Seat Exchange partnership with the Los Angeles Lakers here.