The Biggest Superfans in the NBA
Nearly every team in each of the major professional sports leagues has a few recognizable superfans. Of course, depending on the success of the team and the veracity of the fan base, some are a bit more well known than others.
The NBA is no different. There are no "bad" fan bases in the league, but you're probably much more familiar with the superfans of the Lakers and Knicks than the Grizzlies or Bucks. That's actually kind of unfair.
All superfans deserve recognition for their devotion and dedication to their team—no matter how bad it may be. So let's take a look at superfans from each of the NBA's 30 teams.
30. Sacramento Kings: Sacramento Kings Dancers
There's been a lot of speculation that the Kings are being targeted by basketball-hungry Seattle. City officials in Seattle are working to finalize plans for a new arena in the city.
For now it seems the Kings are staying in Sacramento, but things could change. The fact that their champagne swilling dancers were the best we could do in terms of identifying a superfan should tell you something about the team.
29. Washington Wizards: Robin Ficker
That's right! The Wizards superfan is 70-year-old Robin Ficker, an attorney and "sports heckler" from Boyds, Maryland, who hasn't attended an NBA game since 1998. "Sports heckler" is listed as one of his many careers on his Wikipedia page.
The heckling even has its own dedicated section. Apparently Ficker spent decades menacing the (then) Bullets opposition from behind their bench, but when the team moved to the MCI Center, he was reseated.
Hence, never attending a game again. That's so D.C.
28. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jeff Tanchak
Since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, the Cavaliers are short on superfans. But the Chief Meteorologist of 19 Action News Cleveland Jeff Tanchak is Cavaliers crazy.
Or at least he was two years ago. In 2010, Tanchak was so convinced the Cavaliers would win the NBA Championship that he staked out his parade spot over a month in advance.
Tanchak even got a visit from the Mayor of Cleveland—hopefully that dulled the sting of the eventual loss.
27. Golden State Warriors: Jessica Alba
Things aren't great for the Warriors these days, the only headlines they've made recently were for enthusiastically booing owner Joe Lacob during a jersey retirement ceremony for Chris Mullin.
At least the booing was coming from a sold out crowd! Another positive? Stunning actress Jessica Alba is a dedicated Warriors fan who is often spotted at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
26. Milwaukee Bucks: Craig Wambold
If Craig Wambold wasn't a Milwaukee Bucks superfan before, he certainly is now. In March 2012, Wambold nailed a half-court shot during an in-game contest and took home $10,000 for his trouble.
25. Toronto Raptors: Samuel L. Jackson
The Raptors might not have much success on the court, but they can always count on the support of movie star (and Grade-A badass) Samuel L. Jackson.
Well him, and the ridiculous antics their hilarious mascot. Hey, that's more than Wizards fans have.
24. Miami Heat: Enrique Iglesias & Anna Kournikova
Long-retired tennis beauty Anna Kournikova and her boyfriend of over a decade, singer Enrique Iglesias, are two of the Heat's most recognizable superfans.
At least they aren't bandwagon fans—these longtime season ticket holders have been courtside staples for years.
23. New Jersey Nets: Pink Shirt Guy
The poor Nets don't have many identifiable superfans, but they do have a number of fans that can be identified by the paper bags they wear on their heads. That's a little harsh, but I'm going to go ahead and recommend it to Pittsburgh Pirates fans.
Fret not Jay-Z, there is at least one young Nets superfan who isn't afraid to stand up and say it loud and say it proud. That young man is Pink Shirt Guy—a personal hero of mine. Someone send this kid season tickets, stat!
22. New Orleans Hornets: Chris Trew
Comedian and New Orleans native Chris Trew is a Hornets superfan who wants NBA commissioner David Stern to live up to his pledge to find an owner who will keep the team in town.
Trew has made a series of YouTube videos nominating himself for Hornets owner. It doesn't seem he has any money or plans to buy the team, but the dude has got passion. America was built on passion.
21. Atlanta Hawks: Chris Tucker
What the Hawks lack in on-the-court success, they more than make up for in celebrity star power. Actor Chris Tucker is an Atlanta native who has been a life-time supporter of the team and is often seen at even the lowest-attended games.
Aside from Tucker, Hawks games are often an attraction for members of the hip hop community in the ATL at a given time. Usher, Lil' Jon, Chris Brown, Drake and Nelly are just a few of the stars that have been spotted at games.
20. Charlotte Bobcats: Super Bob & Thunder Cat
According to their Facebook page, which is a grammatical travesty, Super Bob and Thunder Cat are "The Charlotte Bobcats 2 Biggest Fans…. wait wait.. were Super Fans!"
It's hard to say how many games these two even attend, but God love'em for trying. The Bobcats aren't exactly the NBA's biggest draw.
19. Memphis Grizzlies: Superfan Superclub
The Grizzlies have a superfan group of about 20 people who meet in the lobby before every game before heading to their club-level seats together. This ritual is known as their pre-game "swagger" lap and it gets everyone fired up for the game.
According to ILoveMemphisBlog, "There is a man who looks like a Grizzlies-themed hobo with his blazer, dyed-blue beard, blue wig and fedora. There’s a man wearing blue-tinted sunglasses and dangly Grizzlies earrings. There are headbands, autographed jerseys and giant strands of Mardi Gras beads."
18. Houston Rockets: Darth Rowdy
In 2011, Jonathan "Darth Rowdy" Fedee was named the Rockers No. 1 Superfan. Toyota asked Rockets fans to post photos to the ToyotaRocketsFan page on Facebook and 10 finalists were chosen.
Darth Rowdy beat out the rest of the top 10 to take the title, a meet and greet with a Rockets player and a baller 2011 Toyota Camry.
Yes it sounds like one giant advertisement for Toyota, but it's also sounds awesome.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves: Los Locos
Thanks to the emergence of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio as legit superstars for the Timberwolves, the once stagnate franchise has been reignited.
Also reignited? The team's once stagnate fanbase. The section of the Target Center known as "Los Locos" is where all the decked out in costumes, superfans sit to cheer on the team.
16. Portland Trail Blazers: Free Throw Guy, Darth Blazer & Blazer Bruce
The Trail Blazers are so legit that they have a trio of superfine superfans. Individually each of them would be a force to be reckoned with, but combined they are nothing short of unstoppable.
Check out the video of these three forces teaming up to spin signs at a Portland area Mattress World for the day.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Big Daddy
In January 2012, "Big Daddy" became an instant YouTube sensation after rocking out on the jumbotron to House of Pain's classic hit "Jump Around" at a Sixers game.
Dubbed "The NBA's Best Dancer," Big Daddy proves that just because you're big doesn't mean you can't bust a move.
14. Orlando Magic: Sweater Vest Guy
A lot of NBA teams hold annual contests that recognize fan dedication and crown an official "superfan." In January 2011, the Magic crowned Jack "The Sweater Vest Guy" Nelson their ultimate superfan.
Sweater Vest Guy has often gotten the attention of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, which might be why he was able to edge out some stiff competition.
Sweater Vest Guy beat out Ernie "Golf Cart Guy" Provetti, Darren "Full Face Paint" Manser and the formidable sounding Pink Gorilla & Magic Rabbit.
13. Utah Jazz: Dr. Richard Anderson
Jazz superfan Dr. Richard Anderson has been one of the teams biggest supporters for well over a decade. You'll notice he's chatting with former Jazz star Karl Malone in the photo, so obviously he's remembered fondly by players.
In 1998, Anderson made news for distracting Timberworlves' free-throw shooters. He became such a nuisance that his game props were confiscated: a Jazz flag, a brightly colored oversized basketball, a megaphone, several masks of Karl Malone's face and a rubber chicken.
12. Detroit Pistons: Eric Matecun
For over four years, superfan Eric Matecun wore a Pistons jersey to school every single day—rotating through at least nine different jerseys. His mother kept track of the days and Matecun finally put an end to the streak, it stretched 1,460 days.
Although the streak is over, Matecun is still a dedicated fan who tries to show his Piston pride every day. The junior high schooler is probably just trying to focus on impressing girls at the moment (and for the rest of his life).
11. Oklahoma City Thunder: Brick Man
Derek Seyes, also known as "Brick Man," is a Thunder superfan who routinely attends home games. No big deal, right? Well it wouldn't be if the trip to the game wasn't an epic 1,400 miles!
During the 2011 playoffs, Brick Man racked up over 5,000 miles on his Corolla to see five home games at the Oklahoma City Arena. That's dedication, my friends.
10. Phoenix Suns: Peggy & Nathan Pillow
70-something married couple Peggy and Nathan Pillow of Phoenix are two of the Suns biggest superfans. They've been season ticketholders since 1987 and have missed just a handful of games.
When a game is missed, you can be darn sure there's a good reason—"probably a wedding or being a minister a funeral." How do the Pillows get to the games, you ask? In Nathan's 1968 Volkswagen that is painted Suns orange—naturally.
9. Indiana Pacers: Michael Hopson
Michael Hopson is a true superfan—and not just for the Pacers. Hopson is an Indianapolis superfan and one of the most dedicated supporters of the Pacers and Colts and he never misses the Indy 500.
The interview on NBA.com that goes along with this photo is absolutely worth watching.
8. San Antonio Spurs: John Paul & Crystal Dennison
Spurs superfans John Paul and Crystal Dennison are a couple of crazy kids in love and recently welcomed an adorable set of twins into the world.
So what makes them superfans—a couple of jerseys? No way. Those two little cherubs are named Duncan and Parker—in honor of Spurs superstars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
That's legit as hell.
7. Chicago Bulls: Mare Bear
Mare Bear is a Chicago superfan who grew up as a dedicated fan of the heart-stomping Cubs, but eventually shifted her fan focus to the Bulls. Her family has season tickets and she attends the majority of home games each season.
Mare Bear is also a well-know LeBron James "hater," and has described booing King James as being "in heaven." Mare Bear's LeBron hating has even been immortalized on Deadspin—a badge of honor for many sports fans.
6. Dallas Mavericks: Don Knobler
Mavericks superfan Don Knobler has been passionately rooting for the Mavs since attending his very first game in 1997. It just took one game and he was hooked.
Knobler is a an entrepreneur from Dallas and is easily spotted courtside, thanks to his colorful and creative costume choices.
5. Los Angeles Lakers: Jack Nicholson
Acting legend Jack Nicholson has been a courtside Staple at Lakers game going back decades. Nicholson is often spotted sitting with his children, lady friends or other famous actors.
It's not easy to stand out at the Staples center, considering all of the celebrity Lakers fans. Naturally, Nicholson has no problem with that.
Honorable mention to Durt Rambis.
4. Los Angeles Clippers: Clipper Darrell
Clippers owner Donald Sterling decided to repay the team's No. 1 fan in a way that only a maniacal comic book villain such as himself could. Clipper Darrell was ordered to ditch his nickname and stop doing anything that may or may not take money out of the billionaire pockets of Sterling.
3. Boston Celtics: Aztec Gino
According to his website (yes, he has a website) Aztec Gino is the Celtics "numbah one" superfan. Apparently AG was a relative unknown before he "exploded" onto the Celtics scene in 2008.
How anyone can be a relative unknown dressed like that is a question for another day. His bio is priceless if you're interested in learning a bit more about what makes AG tick.
2. New York Knicks: Spike Lee
The Knicks have been flailing in mediocrity for what seems like forever and over the last few decades, most of their teams have been relatively forgettable. The teams may be forgettable, but watching director/Knicks superfan Spike Lee suffer courtside for decades isn't.
No moment was more unforgettable than Lee's central role in Game 1 of the 1995 Easter Conference Semifinals. With the Pacers facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit in the finals moments, Reggie Miller used Lee as inspiration in the performance that defined his career.
That was one of the greatest moments in sports history, too bad for Lee he found himself on the wrong side of destiny that night.
1. Denver Nuggets: Nicholas Owens
Nick Owens became a Nuggets superfan at age six when he had the opportunity to meet Dikembe Mutombo at a Children's Hospital event in Denver. Owens, who has spina bifida and the 7'2 Mutombo began an unlikely friendship.
From that day on Owens became a regular visitor to Nuggets games, the locker room and team events. Eventually he became a locker room aide for the team and spent 13 years in the position.
Today he's an ambassador for the Colorado Children's Hospital and a professional fundraisers for spina bifida charities.
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