The new kid in town is a very rich kid.
In 1999, the Great Western Forum , longtime home to the Lakers, was eclipsed by the Los Angeles Staples Center in downtown.
The new home to the Lakers, the Clippers (NBA), and the Kings (NHL), the Staples Center not only wooed two of the teams away from the Forum, they actually bought out the Forum itself! And with them came the celebrity fans who used to be a trademark of sports nights at that Inglewood arena.
So you can now expect to see #1 fan Jack Nicholson and his fellow Lakers fanatics hanging out at this new $375 million, 900,000 square-foot bright spot, lured by world class luxury suites and posh amenities that put the old arena to shame. (In fact, the center has already awarded Jack the first Staples Center Plaza Star for his devotion to the team.)
Although some favor the exclusive luxury suites, the die-hard Lakers fans prefer the best seats in the house - and the most expensive, 130 floor seats right at courtside which go for $1,150 per game. This is where you'll find regulars Jack Nicholson, Dyan Cannon, Denzel Washington and his wife, Magic Johnson, and "Allie McBeal" producer David Kelley. Newer Lakers fans include Zac Efron and Tobey Maguire.
Just about all of Hollywood has re-located to the Staples Center, and it was never more obvious than at the recent championship series when a galaxy of stars turned out to root on the Lakers.
According to AP Sports writer Beth Harris, "Chris Rock blends in three rows back, while Dustin Hoffman and wife, Lisa, are at midcourt a couple rows up. Steven Spielberg goes low key in a baseball cap, while actress Rebecca de Mornay, her blond hair flowing, sits in the first row of the stands. At the opposite end of that row, actress Salma Hayek (without boyfriend Edward Norton this game) sits with her gal pals." Jim Carrey and Michael Clarke Duncan turned out as well.
The Lakers have many other loyal fans besides Jack. Semi-regulars at the Lakers games at the Forum included Johnny Carson, Michael Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, Bruce Willis, Walter Matthau, Steven Seagal, Don Johnson, Rob Lowe, Henry ('The Fonz') Winkler, Arsenio Hall, Eagle Glenn Frey, "As Good As It Gets" director James Brooks, supermodel Tyra Banks, and singer Natalie Cole. It wasn't unusual to see Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, Brandy, Cindy Crawford, Jim Carrey, Garry Shandling, Sharon Stone, Bill Murray, Dennis Miller, the Baldwin brothers, Leonardo DiCaprio or Jerry Seinfeld at a game, not to mention Spike Lee (especially when the Knicks are in town).
Jack, and most of those laker Fans have relocated to the Staples.
You can also now add Denzel Washington, Adam Sandler, Morgan Freeman, Britney Spears, Sean Penn, Lindsay Lohan, Chris Rock, Billy Crystal, Matthew Perry, Eva Longoria, George Lopez, Noah Wyle, Frankie Muniz, David Arquette, Andy Garcia, Rob Reiner, Mary J. Blige, Ray Liotta - even Jesse Jackson - all were spotted by the L.A. Times at Staples in just a couple of months in early 2007, enjoying b-ball.
The most exclusive spot at the Staples Center is where the stars gather during breaks in the game action, the star-studded Chairman's Room, which is located under the stands at the arena's south end. Only 85 VIP's get gold passes to this special room - and yes, Jack is one of them.
One place you
can see stars before the game at Staples is 'The Palm', a
nearby high-end steakhouse, and a popular pre-game stop for many fans,
both celebrities and others. In fact, the walls of The Palm are covered
with caricatures frequent celebrity diners - at least those who can afford
it. The Palm is located just east of the Staples Center, at 1100 S. Flower
Street. Reservations are a must, at (213) 763-4600.
But you can expect to see celebrities performing on stage here as well as in the seats: the opening act for the Staples Center was none other than the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, who sold out three shows here in October of 1999.
And sometimes stars come out to see stars. In late 2006, a Barbra Streisand concert at Staples brought out (according to Army Archerd) Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Sidney Poitier, Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell, Barry Manilow, Shirley MacLaine, Rob Lowe, Jeff Bridges, Rosie O'Donnell, Quincy Jones, Diane Lane, and many others.
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