All I want to know is what my very good friend Jerry Lewis was doing at the French Open. And what was my other very good friend Corbin Bernsen doing at the Belmont. Pas très chic, wouldn't you agree? Not when everybody who is anybody, and especially somebody in L.A. (if not L.A. Law), was doing pro basketball last week. Not when my very good friend Dancing Barry was unveiling his latest partner, Dancing Belly (?), and then dumping her into my very good friend Brandon Tartikoff's lap. Not when my very good friend Natalie Cole was singing the national anthem, replacing "were so gallantly streaming" with "C'mon y'all." (A totally awesome touch.) And certainly not when my very good friends Rick Dees, Wayne Gretzky and Cathy Lee Crosby were appearing in the "welcome" lights of the Fabulous Forum's fabulous scoreboard right up there with Hormel Chili. Hey, I forgot how truly great the NBA was until I went to the championship series and a Celebrity Telethon broke out.
This is an article from the June 15, 1987 issue
Now of course my very good friends Jer and Sammy didn't make it for the first couple of games, but all the rest of the gang was there...and not the Gang Green, which is what the L.A. papers called the poor suckers from Boston who kept getting blown away. Like Beverly Hills props, too.
I speak of my very good friends Gabe Kaplan and Lisa Hartman and Lou Gossett Jr. and O.J. Simpson down near the fabulous floor, not to mention my very good friend Jack Nicholson who was practically embedded in it. Jack took some time off from the set of Iron weed, the set being in Albany—yuck—N.Y., to join my very good friend Lou Adler, who, if you don't know (and you probably don't), is the bearded guy who sits next to him. Go ahead and laugh at his flowered shirt and his tourist hat, but Lou doesn't have to work another day in his life after producing albums for some of my very good friends, like Carole King, that's all. So after the Lakers beat the Gang Green 342-17 and 366-12, Jack and Lou and my other very good friends went to Lou's club, the Roxy, to eat, drink and, well, just say no.
It is difficult to select last week's greatest of all NBA championship moments, but I was finally able to pick two favorites: guessing which drop-absolutely-positively-dead outfit my very good friend Dyan Cannon would show up in at courtside, and overhearing a strange man wearing a tank top, sunglasses, a razor blade around his neck and an earring in his ear say, "I'm telling you, I just saw Hal David."
What's it all about, Alfie? Oh, sorry. I didn't really get a chance to say just win, baby, to my very good friend Al Davis or dy-no-mite to my very good friend Jimmie Walker or even hello to my very good friends Johnny Carson, Kirk Douglas and John McEnroe, probably because it was fairly impossible to work the arena under the duress of Laker coach Pat Riley's tasteless harangue against, let's face it, the public's right to a show. Can you believe it? Riley was concerned that his team's reputation was wasting away in Celebrityville. He felt the onslaught of my very good friends was reinforcing the image of his basketball team as, I quote him, "A bunch of glitter-group, superficial laid-backs." Riley said, "This is the hardest-working team I've ever had, but regardless of what we do, we're minimized...we're empty people...and most of us aren't even from California."
Picky, picky. It wasn't horrid enough that Riley once threw my very good friend Michael Jackson out of the Laker locker room and didn't even know who he was! Gross! (Wait till Michael buys the Lakers and replaces Riley with a llama.) And this was after he allowed Whoopi Goldberg, the very first of my very good distaff friends, to cross the threshold. But then last week the coach labeled the scene in the home-team dressing quarters "a sideshow, a zoo, a circus" (obviously, Riles was confused) and vowed that "things would change."
And merely because my very good friends Don Johnson and Bruce Willis (who, after all, were invited in by my very good friend, Laker owner Jerry Buss) burst upon L.A.'s post-Game 1 festivities accompanied by an entourage of approximately 4,000 and stole some media away from old what's-his-name, Kareem Adbald-Goggles?
Were my guys sharp? Hey, pal, do bees be? Bruce had on a black T-shirt and his Wicked Witch of the West red boots; in semiexclusive interviews he predicted both an L.A. sweep and a seven-game series. What, you think the guy's got sushi for brains? Get horizontal. "James Worthy, the baddest dude," Don said to James Worthy. Then they went into the shower room to kibitz with Magic Johnson. "The thing is," Magic fairly squealed later, "they wants to be us and we wants to be them."
Imagine my disgust after Game 2 when a security guard appeared outside the Laker locker room and announced, "All celebrities wait outside. Media only, inside." Imagine my quandary—where to go?
Ultimately, having snuck by the fuzz, I frantically combed the Laker dressing cubicles for any of my very good friends. Just before giving up hope, I spotted one. It was Henry Winkler, a fellow crasher, the Fonz himself. Henry breathlessly mumbled the password to Riley, "Beautiful, just beautiful," and gave me a hello. If there is one thing my very good friend is, it's sincere. Then he went to congratulate Kurt Rambis. "Kurt," said Henry. "I'd like to introduce you to my very best friend...." I edged closer. "...Steve."
The NBA finals. They're still fantastic.