Playing the Field: Rating the best, worst celebrity NBA fans
With the NBA Finals upon us and with nearly everyone wanting to tombstone piledrive Justin Bieber for doing Justin Bieber things at Monday night’s Heat-Pacers game, it’s time to get in the spirit and rate the knowledge of today’s celebrity NBA fan. And no, we’re not profiling Jack Nicholson and Lou Adler – they’re the gold standard of celebrity NBA fan until they meet their demise (is there any doubt they’re dying together?).
Justin Bieber (Click here to see Justin Bieber NBA photos)
Team: Miami Heat
Reason: Because Bieber’s hometown of Stratford, Ontario, Canada is basically the Miami of the north
NBA knowledge: 4
Bieber seemed like something of a roundball savant in 2011, nearly beating out former Bulls star Scottie Pippen as game MVP in the annually horrid Celebrity All-Star Game during NBA All-Star weekend. Something tells me that Bieber shut things down, basketball-wise, in the days following that breakout performance in which he scored 8 points … which is fine … we all give up getting in those thousand jump shot sessions in favor of the female species and fame and/or fortune at some point. And we all know things in Bieber’s life have always been rushed, so it’s a miracle that he didn’t peak hoops-wise when he was 3, let alone 19.
So, why only a 4 rating? Man, did the kid look genuinely disinterested for that Game 7 on Monday night (see photo above). Of course, it’s a safe bet that he pregamed with
a little A LOT of that indo.
There’s also been a film that’s been discussed in Hollywood for several years now in which Biebs is supposed to play the part of a street baller. Seriously, Mark Wahlberg has the script and has discussed it several times. Speaking of Wahlberg …
Mark Wahlberg (Click here to see Mark Wahlberg at Lakers games)
Team: Boston Celtics
Reason: From Dorchester. Say hi to ya motha for me.
NBA knowledge: 2
Yup, I’m calling fraud on hoops Wahlberg. While his NKOTB brother, Donnie, showed up to nearly every game during the Raef LaFrentz Celtics days, Hollywood Mark was nowhere to be found. There is no way that this Thunder Buddy watched one second of Sebastian Telfair running the point in the mid-2000s on the NBA league pass. No way.
I’m also pretty sure that during this time, Donnie called him out for being a closet Lakers fan considering he attended nearly every home game and never donned Celtic green. Now, if you talk to Mark, the guy acts as if he used to light Red Auerbach’s cigars.
Flo Rida (Click here to see Flo Rida at Heat games)
Team: Miami Heat
Reason: He’s from Carol City, Fla. and looks like he could have bodied up Anthony Mason on the block during the ’90s Knicks-Heat wars.
NBA knowledge: 8
Points here because he didn’t overreact when his manager got kicked out of Game 7 Monday night. Towards the end of Miami’s blowout win, Heat guard Norris Cole got into it with Indiana’s Jeff Pendergraph. Flo Rida’s manager then went ape-sh**, and absolutely wanted to trade blows with the 6-foot-9 Pendergraph. Flo Rida could have easily sided with his spastic manager but instead chose to remain cool and (get this) watch the game. I doubt Flo Rida will be the Jack of East Coast NBA games anytime soon, but this earns a major bonus.
Will and Jaden Smith (Click here to see Will and Jaden Smith at an NBA game)
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Reason: West Philadelphia. Born. Raised.
Collective NBA knowledge: 5
No, the ‘N’ in NBA does not stand for nepotism (the Dunleavy family also once made this mistake) but Will has been around the league for a while now. It seems like just yesterday when he was schooling Isiah Thomas in the sexual tension conference finals.
Rihanna (Click here to see Rihanna at an NBA game)
Team: Whatever works
NBA knowledge: 7
No, I don’t think she could hold a two-minute conversation on backdoor cuts with Jerry West, but is there any doubt that Rihanna could throw any NBA game she wanted? What’s stopping some Vegas sharp from paying Rihanna half a mill to merely wink at the recently marital troubled Tim Duncan in Game 2 of the Finals?
I’m convinced something along these lines is the new Donaghy scandal. No doubt.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS