Ranking every NBA team by its celebrity fans
The NBA season is getting underway and fans of basketball will be flocking to NBA stadiums to catch their favorite star players in action. And while every team in sports has fans, the NBA is well-known for having some of the most famous fans in all of American sports. Some even become synonymous with the team they root for, a phenomenon that isn't as pronounced in sports like football or baseball. Whether it's Spike Lee heckling refs and opponents alike in bright orange at Madison Square Garden or Jack Nicholson sitting with his shades on courtside at Staples Center, the NBA is all about star power on and just slightly off the court. Here are your power rankings for NBA teams by each team's biggest celebrity fan.*
*Rankings were decided upon using a complex algorithmic formula based on factors such as longevity of team support, clout, visibility and a giant dart board.
30. Utah Jazz - Zac Efron
He was at a Jazz and Lakers playoff game in 2008 in Salt Lake City. That has to count for something?
29. Milwaukee Bucks - Mallory Edens
Yes, the biggest Bucks celebrity fan is the daughter of the co-owner of the team who also happens to be a Knicks fan.
28. Golden State Warriors - Jessica Alba
She's frequented games, and has worn a 'We Believe' shirt. Owner Joe Lacob will inevitably give her a run for her money though.
27. Minnesota Timberwolves - Craig Kilborn
Craig Kilborn is still kind of a celebrity.... right?
26. Portland Trail Blazers - Elizabeth Banks
Married into Trail Blazer fandom with Max Handelman.
25. Sacramento Kings - Kevin Johnson
The mayor of Sacramento who was a huge supporter of the team staying in the Sacramento area. It's not too often that one gets to say that they're a big part of the reason why a team resides in a city, but it's a claim that Johnson can make.
24. Phoenix Suns - Alice Cooper
I wonder if the Suns play "School's Out For Summer" at the end of the season? I would. I would do that.
23. Washington Wizards - Wale
Now with bonus RGIII!
22. Indiana Pacers - Jared Fogel (aka, Jared from Subway)
The best thing about Jared being the Pacers' most well-known backer is that he knows how funny it is that he's pretty much the highest profile Pacers fan out there.
21. Miami Heat - Gabrielle Union
Because it was either Union or Justin Bieber.
20. Orlando Magic - Tiger Woods
Woods has been a longtime Magic supporter, and there isn't that much competition as far as Magic fans go.
19. Dallas Mavericks - George Clooney
OK, this spot probably should go towards Mark Cuban but having too many owners on this list already feels a little wrong. So, instead we'll go with Clooney, mostly because I had no idea he was a Mavs fan before I wrote this. According to Cuban, he and Clooney have shot around before as well.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder - Olivia Munn
Munn was born in Oklahoma City and thus, like seemingly everyone else from the state of Oklahoma, she became a big supporter of the Thunder as soon as they moved into town.
OKC Thunder played strong tonight and will keep it up and take the next win in Miami! Fo. Sho. — oliviamunn (@oliviamunn) June 15, 2012
17. Atlanta Hawks - TI
Because only TI got to do a Hawks promo this year with Hawks CEO Steve Koonin where Koonin said "fo shizzle."
16. New Orleans Pelicans - Lil' Wayne
The self-proclaimed best rapper alive is incredibly proud of his hometown and all the sports teams that reside there. We'll let his occasional slippage into bandwagoning slide for now.
15. San Antonio Spurs - Barbara Walters
Feel free to get this photo tattooed on your body, Spurs fans.
14. Denver Nuggets - John Elway
John Elway is the king of Denver, so of course he's repping their basketball team. Honorable mention goes to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but we couldn't find any photos of the South Park creators at a game.
13. Cleveland Cavaliers - Usher
Music moguls who own a part of an NBA team is a running theme here.
12. Detroit Pistons - Eminem
The man IS Detroit.
11. Charlotte Hornets - Michael Jordan
Yes, picking an owner (not even a partial owner) feels like it's cheating but it's the Charlotte Hornets and Jordan is about the closest thing that the Hornets have to celebrity cred. And hey, Jordan starred in his own movie, so he's an "actor" as well.
10. Boston Celtics - Matt Damon
We'll let Damon speak for himself, on this one.
9. Philadelphia 76ers - Will Smith
The Fresh Prince is part owner of the Sixers, born and raised in West Philadelphia.
8. Memphis Grizzlies - Justin Timberlake
Timberlake is part-owner of the Grizzlies and he and his wife Jessica Biel frequent games together.
7. Houston Rockets - Beyoncé
Born and raised in Hoston, Texas, Beyoncé may be more known in NBA circles for sitting court-side at Nets games with Jay-Z but since everything that Beyoncé does is utterly flawless, she gets the Rockets' spot by default. If nothing else, she reps Houston (and a James Harden jersey) incredibly well.
6. Brooklyn Nets - Jay-Z
Hova is more synonymous with the Nets than owner Mikhail Prokhorov or pretty much anyone on the roster.
5. Toronto Raptors - Drake
When you are a team's official "global ambassador" and you're not the team's official mascot, you pretty much win this spot by default.
4. Chicago Bulls - Barack Obama
Definitely the most visible Chicago Bulls fan, day in and day out.
3. Los Angeles Clippers - Billy Crystal
There is something that feels so right about Billy Crystal being a gigantic Clippers fan.
2. New York Knicks - Spike Lee
No other Knicks fan comes close to Spike Lee, who at this point is just the Knicks' unofficial mascot. Only the Lakers pack more heat when it comes to celebrity attendance at games.
1. Los Angeles Lakers - Jack Nicholson
Self-explanatory. The legend to which all NBA celebrity fans should aspire to.
Ryan Wong is a writer for Next Impulse Sports