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In a town where influence and money can guarantee just about anything, there remains one untouchable frontier in the it’s-all-about-who-you-know game of Hollywood: courtside Lakers tickets. Even Jerry Buss, team owner since 1979, has been unable to secure permanent residence as the seats are grandfathered from owner to owner. After notoriously offering courtside ticket holders a premium for their spots — none was willing to forfeit — Buss and his family were relegated to one of the arena’s 160 luxury suites. So how does one get courtside? Patience (lots) and friends both powerful and generous.
Above, see who has seats – and how they got them. And find out more about the secret politics and behind-the-scenes dealmaking here.
Irving Azoff (2)
The Ticketmaster CEO has two floor seats, but rumor has it he sublets another two to Eagle Glenn Frey.
Dyan Cannon (2)
The Solomon’s baby of celebrity divorce, these two seats were the most contested items in her 1991 split from real estate bigwig Stan Fimberg. The pair decided to each take a seat because neither was willing to miss a game.
Although the camera-shy actor is a frequent courtside guest, his actual season tickets are a few rows behind the Lakers’ bench.
Ari Emanuel (4)
The WME head (right) sublets four courtside seats next to the Lakers’ bench from an unknown ticket holder. Oftentimes accompanied by WME co-CEO Patrick Whitesell (left), Emanuel will occasionally fill his chairs with agency clients.
Sam Gores (2)
The Paradigm chairman (below) holds court a few seats down from the unofficial team mascot, Jack Nicholson. However, sources say Gores sublets these spots from the chairs’ rightful owner, Michael Ovitz.
Dustin Hoffman (2)
During the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, Hoffman and his wife began a tradition of outrageous PDA during the “Kiss Cam.”
Jimmy Iovine (4)
Using his seats as currency, the Interscope chairman shares his four courtside chairs with many of his artists including Jay-Z, Usher and T.I. (particularly after concerts and shows at the arena’s neighboring venue, the Nokia Theatre).
Steven Jackson (8)
Known as “King of the Courtside,” Jackson owns an unprecedented eight chairs, more than any other ticket holder. The CEO of ACI International — a footwear manufacturer that inked a deal during the late 1990s with then-Laker Shaquille O’Neal — can be seen at most home games, joined by his family.
Khloe Kardashian (2)
Even being married to a player can’t get her courtside. She’s in Section 105, Row 1.
Jeffrey Katzenberg (4)
The DreamWorks Animation CEO (right) is often spotted alongside fellow DreamWorks co-founder Steven Spielberg (left). Other times, Katzenberg hands the tickets to his son, David, who brings girlfriend Nicky Hilton.
It’s unclear whether The Expendables producer has season spots, but he is a courtside regular.
Norm Pattiz (4)
The radio mogul has full ownership of his four spots on the far side of the bench, which he once traded to Haim Saban for use of Saban’s private jet. Recently, Pattiz leased two of his four chairs to DreamWorks’ David Geffen.
The L.A.-based labor and employment lawyer can often be spotted during games perched directly behind announcers.
Patrick Soon-Shiong (4)
In October, Magic Johnson sold his share of the team to the biotech billionaire; the Los Angeles Business Journal estimated that Johnson owned about 5 percent, putting the price tag at about $30 million. It’s rumored that Soon-Shiong received Johnson’s courtside tickets as part of the deal.
Jerry Weintraub (4)
The veteran producer is proud owner of the four padded perches next to the visitors’ bench. However, he hasn’t been seen courtside this season as he sublet his exclusive chairs to real estate giant Michael Meldman.
Luanne Wells (2)
The widow of former Disney president Frank Wells kept his two spots after his death.
Little is known about this elusive courtside fan besides her first name.
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