December 30, 2010
Many celebrities are famously associated with NBA teams: Jack Nicholson with the Lakers, Spike Lee with the Knicks, Jimmy Buffet with the Heat, Sen. John McCain with the Suns, and, last but certainly not least, Frankie Muniz with the Clippers. In addition to cheering as hard as they can, they also increase their favorite teams' profiles.
As far as I know, the Philadelphia 76ers do not have the most famous fans in the world. Until now, that is. Because Grammy-winning musician John Mayer and actor/writer BJ Novak ("The Office," "Inglourious Basterds") are following the team around the west coast for some as yet unclear reason.
It started on Monday, when the Sixers met Mayer and Novak at The Four Seasons in San Francisco. Jason Kapono(notes) and Spencer Hawes(notes) even played a game of HORSE against them. Philly was in town for their night game against the Warriors, and Mayer and Novak just seemed to be around town. In fact, my good friend Prakash Janakiraman belongs to the gym at the hotel and informed me that he had played two-on-two against Mayer on Sunday afternoon. By all appearances, Mayer and Novak just happened to be there and met the team.
Except they also visited the Sixers locker room during last night's game in Phoenix, according to Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. There is no explanation for their visit, but the evidence suggests that they are now following the Sixers around on their road trip. If that's not a great way to spend the holidays, then I don't know what is.
This would make more sense if either Mayer or Novak hailed from Pennsylvania, but they are from Fairfield, CT (147 miles from Philly, although quite close to New York City) and Newton, MA (296 miles away), respectively. Plus, the Sixers aren't exactly the best team around (8th in the East at 13-19) and haven't exactly played the cream of the NBA crop so far on this trip.
Until Friday, that is, when they face the Lakers at Staples Center for a 7:30 PM New Year's Eve spectacular. I would not expect most Hollywood celebrities to attend an average basketball game on one of the biggest party nights of the year, but Mayer and Novak don't seem like your normal famous fans. Keep an eye on tomorrow's contest, because these two men could reach a new high for celebrity fandom. You don't see this kind of commitment every day.