With the new NBA 2010-2011 season upon us and the Los Angeles Lakers embarking on a three-peat quest, I wanted to check-in on the Lakers' No. 1 Fan: Jack Nicholson. Might this be a last run for him as well as Phil Jackson?
Jack Nicholson isn’t getting any younger. How many more seasons does he have in him? It raises the real and fun question: Who’s the next Jack? And, why should the torch be passed to this new person?
Besides longtime Lakers announcer Chick Hearn, Jack Nicholson is the enduring face of the Lakers. It seems he’s been there as long as the Lakers have been in LA. And it is almost true. Most Lakers’ fans barely have a small clue how much Jack loves the game and his beloved Lakers. But nobody realizes what a diehard sports-junkie this guy really is.
But Jack won’t be around forever. So, I wanted to take a look at what celebs would be in the running to take up the torch—take the pass, so to speak—from Jack, as the Lakers’ No. 1 fan.
It’s not an easy title to grab. We’re talking about big shoes to fill, if that is even possible. It might really be like replacing Chick Hearn. I’m not really sure it can be done. It is possible that when Jack is done, no one will ever match up. I believe it can’t be done.
But at least we can give it a shot. Before I start with the top 10 who are in the running, I want to outline some criteria of the key traits I’m looking for.
These areas all come from what I see Jack possessing. The criteria are:
1. Star power. Look, Jack is a multiple time Academy Award-winning actor. He’s a major star, gets paid massive dough and can really act. Anyone see The Shining? He’s “A” list Hollywood. Any real replacement would need to be at or near Jack’s level.
2. Dedication. Jack is at nearly every home game. This goes for the dog days of February. He was also in his courtside seat during non-title run seasons and, dare I say, the rare occurrence of non-playoff seasons. He even attends road games, but not as many as he used to. He has passion as a fan and passion for the Lakers. Any replacement would have to be really dedicated to the Lakers.
3. Knowledge of the game. Jack played point guard in high school and his love and knowledge of the game have never waned. Opposing coaches and players regard Jack as a real fan because of his depth of knowledge. He is not just a fan, but a hoops junkie. When he rides an opposing coach or ref, he does it from authenticity. He knows what he is talking about. Any replacement would have to know the game of basketball through-and-through, be a real junkie.
So, that’s what I'm looking for in a replacement for Jack. Can anyone even come close to carrying that torch? No.
Jack is an icon. He’s a Laker Nation treasure. We need to relish every moment he’s courtside, screaming, throwing choke signs at opposing players, berating an opposing coach. Jack is Jack. There will never—I repeat, never—be anyone like him. Personally, I’ll savor him for years to come because, knowing Jack, he’s far from done.
But, the day will come.
So, here are my contenders who are in the running to be the next Jack.