As the 2010 NBA Finals now head east to Boston, one has to wonder if the Los Angeles Lakers’ number one fan, actor Jack Nicholson, will make the journey as well. And, if he did, would he again decide to drop his shorts and moon the Boston Garden crowd?
Sound outrageous? No way would anyone, least of all an Academy Award winning actor, do such a stunt. Right? Wrong!
26 years ago in 1984, the Los Angeles Lakers battled their hated rival, the Boston Celtics, for a chance to win the NBA Title. This was the start of the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird wars.
And, just like today, the rivalry was fierce, with each team loaded with superstars who put everything on the line, left everything on the court to be champion.
But giving 100% wasn’t only reserved for play on the court. Jack Nicholson may be known as a famous actor or the guy who sits court-side at all Lakers home games. Many Lakers fans may even have a small clue how much Jack loves the game and his beloved Lakers. But nobody realizes what a die-hard sports junkie this guy really is.
Besides longtime Lakers announcer Chick Hearn, Jack is the enduring face of the Lakers. It seems he’s been there as long as the Lakers have been in L.A. And, it is almost true.
Jack was there in the early glory days of the Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain led teams in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He stuck with the team during a down time in the mid-seventies and watched the Magic Showtime years of the 1980’s firsthand.
He sat closeup in awe to the three-peat teams of the dynamic and volatile duo of Shaq and Kobe. Now, in his older years, Jack is still privileged to have great seats and another Lakers dynasty.
He and his friend, Lou Adler, a renowned music producer who sits alongside Jack, have been going to Lakers game for 40 years. The two started up high at the old Fabulous Forum and worked their way down to the court-side seats they now enjoy. From his vantage point now, Jack is still a die-hard fan.
He works the refs and is a non-stop talker to opposing coaches, who not only walk right in front of the famous actor’s seats, but block his view from time to time. That will ensue a barrage of verbal abuse from Jack who loves to egg them on but also remind the coaches how expensive his seats are. There isn’t a coach in the NBA who hasn’t been at the end of one of Jack’s tirades.
But, Jack is respected, both from his dedication and his deep, deep knowledge of the game. Before DVD, Jack used to have the Lakers management send him VCR tape copies of games, especially when he was out of town filming a movie. He not only loves the Lakers but knows the game. In detail.
Why does he passion run so deep? Because he’s really an old gym rat who played point guard back in high school near Ashbury Park, New Jersey. And, his love affair has never waned.
25 years ago in 1985, just like today, the Lakers played the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. The year before, the Lakers lost, or some would say choked, the series to the same Celtics in seven games. In ’85, the Lakers would finally shake off the demons of series past and finally beat their bitter rivals. And, Jack was there, at the famed old Boston Garden.
But, it was the year before, during that heated 1984 series with Boston, that Jack would deliver one of his most priceless performance.
The anniversary of that day is nearly upon us and, with the 2010 series locked up one to one and headed back to the new Boston Garden, that we celebrate what took place 26 years ago.
In Game 7 on June 12, 1984, the Lakers and Boston battled, scraped, and clawed in one of the series’ best and most contested games. The entire championship hung in the balance.
Sitting in a private box up from the floor, Jack had been taunting and going at the Celtics fans all game. As the contest tightened, Jack put his hand around his throat area in a suggestion that Boston would choke. But, the Celtics didn’t.
With the clock running down and the Celtics taking the lead for good, the Lakers were about to lose. A frustrated and disappointed Jack gave the fans what he really thought about the loss. He decided to give a final salute to the hated Boston fans.
But, he did it Jack style, in a way only Jack could pull off. He dropped his shorts and delivered the now famous “Moon over Boston.” He quickly departed and sauntered off into Lakers, and even Celtic, lore.
The moon was real, as is Jack’s love and support of the Lakers. And, if need be, who knows, as this series in 2010 now turns to critical games in Boston, the old point guard turned Hollywood legend may resurface and, if necessary, give another performance for the ages in support of his beloved team.