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Jack Nicholson's Diary

July 26, 2004
July 26, 2004

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July 26, 2004

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Jack Nicholson's Diary

NEW YEAR'S DAY, 2005

This is an article from the July 26, 2004 issue Original Layout

Dear Diary,

I think I'm goin' freakin' nuts, man. I don't make movies
anymore. I don't shower. I don't shave. I just stare into this
laptop and write to you.

It's been almost six months since we traded the greatest player
on earth for three guys who can't play dead in a Quincy episode.
Right now Staples Center is about as exciting as an acid reflux
seminar. You talk about Heartburn.

What did they do to my beautiful Lakers? Who the hell's idea was
it to hand the franchise over to a guy who, as I write this, is
still on trial 30 games into the season? And why the hell is Kato
Kaelin testifying day after day?

Because the stupid trial goes every day, Kobe can't fly back and
forth to play, which means we're getting beat like rented mules.
By the freakin' Nuggets no less!

It's not just the losing and the half-filled seats. The buzz is
gone. I used to see people from the industry at games, you know?
Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Cameron Diaz. You know who was on
celebrity row with me last night? Florence Henderson, Urkel, and
that "I'm spicy!" guy from the Burger King ads.

Is this as good as it gets?

Lakers floor seats used to go for $1,500. Now they're $27.50 with
a chalupa and a Slava Medvedenko bobblehead thrown in. I had some
guy sitting next to me last night who said he got his ticket with
two Slurpee proof-of-purchase seals. All night the schmo is
going, "Jack, you know what your problem is? You can't handle the
truth!!!"

Maybe he's right. This Lamar Odom guy we got plays defense the
way Kathleen Turner diets. Brian Grant couldn't score on Lil'
Kim. Shaq's gone. Karl Malone's gone. Derek Fisher signed with
Golden State. Did you ever think you'd see that? A Laker signin'
with freakin' Golden State! Worse, Gary Payton's still here.

I'm tellin' you, I haven't seen ball this bad since we shot the
hoops scene in Cuckoo's Nest.

And if you think I'm bad, you ought to see the owner, Jerry Buss.
He used to be all tan and teeth. But ever since he fired a coach
with nine rings and traded a center with three, he looks like a
guy whose Viagra just ran out. He used to always have
hot-and-cold-running starlets on each arm. Now you see him with
two 53-year-old housewives from Oxnard. You'd think they'd at
least take their curlers out.

Turns out Buss never meant to make the Shaq trade. He says he was
floating on his yacht off Italy the week it went down. He called
Mitch Kupchak, his G.M., and said, "I really want to go younger
this year." Mitch thought he meant players. Jerry was talking
about dates.

Now he can't get a coach to stay at any price. Rudy Tomjanovich
took one look at his starting lineup--featuring Kareem Rush and
Luke Walton--and ran like Roman Polanski's nanny. We're on our
fourth coach this season: the little-known third Van Gundy
brother, Vern.

The only one more depressed than me is Jeannie Buss, Jerry's
daughter. Not only did Daddy cut loose her sweetie, Phil Jackson,
but now she has to market this cadaver. This is a team that's had
two losing seasons since 1977. They've never had to sell tickets
before. She has no clue.

Check out the team's marketing slogans so far:

That was Zen, this is now!

Hey, you can still come see the banners!

Park where celebs used to park!

Halftimes blow now too. I mean, I can understand budget cutbacks,
but I can't get into these damn Laker Boys. I used to always
sneak back to that "private room" at halftime, too, and hang with
McEnroe and Springsteen and whoever the coolest people were in
the building that night. No more. I checked in there last night
and it was just Ryan Seacrest playing solitaire.

Somethin's gotta give here. I'm losing my freakin' noodle. I was
here for Magic, Kareem, Worthy. I never thought I'd have to sit
through Slowtime.

They're sayin' Staples could be a tomb for five or six years.
Buss is stuck. We had to pay Kobe $20 million a year to stay, and
we've got to pay Payton and these three nobodies a combined $31
million this year, so we've got less room under the cap than Ben
Wallace in a skully.

Six years? I can't do six years of this, man! I'm losing my grip!
I think I got a facial tic! I hear voices!

Sometimes, when I'm at my very darkest, and life doesn't seem
worth living, I think about--I swear to God I do--going to a
Clippers game.

And that's why I sit at this stupid laptop, hour after hour! You
know what they say, right?

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play
makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull ...

COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER

What did they do to my beautiful Lakers? We traded the greatest
player on earth for three guys who can't play dead in a Quincy
episode.

If you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to
reilly@siletters.com.