The NBA’s biggest celebrity SUPERFANS for each NBA franchise

Now that Kawhi Leonard has been traded to the Raptors for DeMar Derozan and while we wait to hear whether Carmelo Anthony will be waived and join the Houston Rockets, it’s probably safe to assume we’re through the bulk of a surprising, exciting NBA off-season. That means, as the Summer League ends and free agency wrapping up, we’re entering the only relatively quiet part of the calendar for the NBA until the beginning of preseason.

That means there’s a lot less substantial discussions to be had before we really get into previewing the season to come, so we thought we’d go for something a little abstract and a little playful. Taking a break from the players, we’re using this late summer break as a chance to run down a list of some of the NBA’s biggest modern super fans.

The Biggest Superfans Every NBA franchise

If you’re an A-List celebrity and you enjoy basketball, outside of a film shooting schedule, there’s nothing stopping you from being court side. In fact, NBA teams usually offer discounted tickets in exchange for the recognition and prestige you bring to the franchise. Talk about the rich getting richer.  In any case, NBA teams love showing off the celebrities and big names that come to the games. Here’s our updated list of celebrities that often show up on the folding chairs for every NBA team (in alphabetical order).

Atlanta Hawks: 2 Chainz The rapper 2 Chainz doesn’t get as much attention as some of the other celebrities on this list, but if you’re a fan of the Atlanta Hawks you know he’s about as dedicated as they come. Born and raised in Georgia, he’s become a regular at the Hawks games, though he’s a basketball fan beyond Atlanta as well. Last season, 2 Chainz famously showed up at a Duke-North Carolina game as well, taking in the most heated rivalry in the sport at the college level.

Boston Celtics: Ben Affleck + Matt Damon The out-of-touch douche bags of Boston are the two most-famous to be fans of the Bean Town basketball. To be fair, they’re only a little less douchey than Mark Wahlberg and Donnie Wahlberg, so there’s that.

Chicago Bulls: Barack Obama The former President spent much of his life in Illinois and where he started his political life. Obama served as a U.S. senator there from 2005 to 2008 before becoming the 44th US President. So it’s not big surprise that Obama is a big Chicago Bulls fan.

Detroit Pistons: Eminem Does Marshall Mathers even live in Detroit anymore? Not sure, but you can always find the “9-mile” star and big-time rapper at a handful of Piston games every season. And now the team has moved from Auburn Hills back into Detroit, we expect to see a lot more big name Motown celebrities court side.

Golden State Warriors: E-40 When it comes to rap, E-40 wasn’t a household name, but was well-known in the East Bay. Though he’s not the biggest celebrity that has ever attended a Golden State game, he’s one of the most consistent presences at the game. Runner up is Jessica Alba. I have to mention Robin Schreiber, the “Warriors Dance Mom” even though she isn’t a celebrity per se. I just like bringing her up.

Houston Rockets: Beyonce No last name needed here. Though Queen Bey spends most of her time in New York with Jay-Z, the pop superstar has been seen at many a Houston Rockets home game, especially when the team visits the Big Apple and plays the Brooklyn Nets. Honorable Mention: Travis Scott who was a Houston ballboy growing up.

Los Angeles: James Goldstein  James or “Jimmy” Goldstein is a little bit of a mystery, in that he’s an established multimillionaire but no one’s 100 percent sure how he made his money. It’s vaguely believed to be investing payoff, and likely real estate income, but Goldstein himself is coy about it. At any rate, he’s usually to be found near Nicholson at Lakers games, and also attends Clippers games and the occasional contest outside of Los Angeles. By all accounts he’s attended about as many NBA games as any fan over the last several decades (over 100 each year according to his Wikipedia page!).

Los Angeles Lakers: Jack Nicholson  This list simply wouldn’t be right if it started with anyone other than Jack Nicholson. Though there are plenty of other LA Lakers-specific superfans in celebrity circles, Jack is the most loyal of the bunch. He’s become such a staple (no pun intended) courtside at Staples Center that he was jokingly included in a proposed trade package the Lakers could put together to land Leonard. When your presence is more or less synonymous with the most storied franchise in the league, you’ve pretty much reached peak superfan status.

Los Angeles Clippers: Billy Crystal There aren’t too many longtime Clipper fans much less ones that are celebritys. There’s no doubt that Billy Crystal is the most-well known Clipper fan in the universe — beating out Clipper Darrell by a nose.

Memphis Grizzles: Justin Timberlake The former boybander hails from Tennessee, participated in many celebrity basketball games, and now has a minority stake in his hometown Grizzlies. Don’t be surprised to see the pop star at a Memphis home game.

New York Knicks: Spike Lee The Knicks have no shortage of stars that show up at Madison Square Garden, but Spike Lee is the superfan. That’s because Lee is the only one on this list that can rival Nicholson and Crystal in terms of apparent devotion to his team. The filmmaker is an incredibly passionate Knicks fan who’s stuck with the team through a lot of difficult times, and the city of New York loves him for it. Spike is so ingrained that he’s mentioned in raps, argued with players like Reggie Miller and has been featured in Knick lore. And unlike Ethan Hawke, Spike could say bad things about the team and team bully James Dolan wouldn’t be able to ban Spike from “celebrity row” — that’s how synonymous Spike Lee is with the Knicks.

Spike Lee wearing Jeremy Lin‘s Palo Alto jersey during ‘Linsanity’ at MSG

The Honorable Mention for the Knicks is ridiculous: Ben Stiller, Uma Thurman, Chris Rock, Woody Allen, Jon Stewart, Alicia Keys, and Jerry Seinfeld.

Orlando Magic: Tiger Woods Like the Clippers, there isn’t many big name fans to pick from, luckily we have Woods, who has been a longtime Magic supporter and one of history’s most-well known professional golfers. Tiger lives in Orlando, but grew up in California cheering on the Lakers. When the two teams met in the 2009 NBA Finals, Woods had bittersweet loyalties.

Philadelphia 76ers: Kevin Hart I could have easily said Will Smith here, but I am picking Kevin Hart so I can talk badly about him. Don’t ask me how Hart is a celebrity. I don’t find him funny whatsoever, in fact, he’s just annoying. Despite my feelings, you know who I am talking about, so that makes him a celebrity and you can find that annoying gnat of a human frequently courtside at Sixers games. At least, Hart was born and raised in Philadelphia, so that’s something.

Toronto Raptors: Drake Drake is perhaps the “loudest” superfan on this list at this point, in that he makes his presence known at the games. Nicholson, 2 Chainz, and Goldstein can all be easy to spot, but that’s largely because NBA fans (and TV camera crews) know where to look for them. Drake, on the other hand, sits courtside at Raptors games and injects himself into the action, frequently standing up trying to buddy up with players, arguing with officials and acting like a frat boy. Most fans outside of Toronto find his act annoying, but there’s no doubting his passion.

Washington Wizards: Wale Rapper Wale (Olubowale Victor Akintimehin) hails from Northwest, Washington, D.C. and he’s a big supporter of the Wizards. Catch the 33-year old in the expensive seats at dozens of home games.

Other NBA Superfans

NBA fandom doesn’t have to be to a particular team. Celebrities move around a lot and don’t always root for one team. Here’s an honorable mention of several other big names that aren’t cheering for one team, but you’ll find them in the premium seats all over the country. Must be nice.

Floyd Mayweather  Mayweather isn’t as steady a presence at games themselves, but he’s managed to establish his superfan status in his own way – namely, by occasionally placing massive bets on NBA games. A fun little celebrity article on some of the best famous Instagram accounts to follow included Mayweather and, in giving a brief bio, mentioned an $827,000 fortune the former boxer won just by betting on NBA games. Granted, it’s nice to have tens of millions to play with if you’re going to make those kinds of bets, but you have to be a serious fan to gamble (and win) at that level.

Haralabos Voulgaris  Haralabos Voulgaris is an interesting and somewhat mysterious character – a part-time poker player and career sports bettor who’s amassed an untold fortune gambling largely on NBA action. Voulgaris has now become something of an unofficial NBA analyst, often providing his incites via Twitter and occasional appearances on podcasts supported by The Ringer. “Fan” isn’t the perfect word for him, or at least isn’t meant in the same sense it is for the rest of these people, but he’s one of the most noteworthy observers of the sport we can think of today.

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