If there was any question how important tonight’s playoff Game 6 against the Memphis Grizzlies was for the Lakers, one need look no further than a certain iconic court-side seat.
Jack Nicholson took his customary place at Crypto.com arena tonight for the first time since October 19, 2021, according to Showtime’s Rachel Nichols. For some context on how long ago that was, in October 2021 the building was still known as Staples Center.
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Jack Nicholson back courtside for the Lakers – first time since last season’s opening night. pic.twitter.com/OEyr3XPsqA
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 29, 2023
His presence did not go unnoticed by other media outlets. The Lakers pregame and Spectrum SportsNet telecasts both made mention of Jack’s return, flashing his image onscreen. Ditto the Lakers’ official Twitter feed & radio broadcast. ESPN L.A. beat reporter Dave McMenamin took note, too.
The Oscar-winner was joined, as is usual, by his son Ray and also by grandson Duke. Not at his side was longtime friend and fellow sideline fixture Lou Adler. The actor did not, however, want for company. Before the game he was joined by Tee Morant, the camera-loving father of Grizzlies all-NBA guard Ja Morant.
— ESPN (@espn) April 29, 2023
He was greeted by a man who looked to be the Lakers’ public address announcer Lawrence Tanter, who may just be the only person at tonight’s game who’s been sitting courtside longer than Jack; Tanter began working as the Lakers’ announcer at the start of the 1981-82 season, when the team still played at The Forum.
— Crypto.com Arena (@cryptocomarena) April 29, 2023
Fellow Lakers fanatic Larry David walked over from his own court-side seat to pay his respects. (And yes, Curb fans, David was reportedly sitting in the same seat from which he tripped Shaq in an episode of the show.)
— NBA (@NBA) April 29, 2023
Jack was also welcomed by the King himself, LeBron James, who walked over during warmups to shake hands and chat for a bit.
It is ritual nowadays in the NBA for players returning to play their former team to get a JumboTron clip reel tribute. Jack got one, too. As the game went on, a video montage of Nicholson in The Shining and as The Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman played before the feed cut to the actor sitting in his court-side seat. The crowd roared its approval.
Jack Nicholson is back courtside at a Lakers playoff game for the first time in a long time. pic.twitter.com/MFIvMz4XxZ
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 29, 2023
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