Celebrities attend NBA games often — that in itself is not a notable story. What does capture our attention, though, is when one of them has major effect on the scene at a game, or in some cases even gets involved in the action (Daniel Baldwin and Jimmy Buffett are my favorite examples). Sometimes, that happens when a celeb's appearance is so random that no one can stop talking about it. It's not exciting when Denzel Washington attends a Lakers game, but if he showed up at a Rockets game we'd pay attention.
So, when Jon Bon Jovi showed up at Wednesday night's exhibition between the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre, people noticed. Michael Lee of The Washington Post reports from the scene:
Legendary rock musician Jon Bon Jovi sat courtside during the Wizards' 104-101 loss to the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Center. The arena speakers pumped his classic staple, "You Give Love a Bad Name," while his image flashed across the HD scoreboard. And as it all unfolded, John Wall applauded from his seat along the bench.
Wall was simply being polite, because after the game, Wall was asked about Bon Jovi and he replied, "Who's that?"
Jan Vesely, the Czech forward getting dressed nearby, was stunned as he looked at Wall. "No. You don't know him?" Vesely said.
Emeka Okafor, seated in an adjacent locker room stall, shook his head and laughed. Wall smiled and said, "I'm a 90s baby. I never heard of him."
Wall might be unfamiliar with Bon Jovi's music, but some of the rocker's tunes were probably appropriate on a night when the Wizards built an early lead before failing to go down in a blaze of glory — while at the same time giving late-game execution a bad name. Since the final result is irrelevant, the Wizards were able to come away with plenty with which to be encouraged.
First, let's congratulate Mr. Lee for his amazing use of Bon Jovi song puns. He shows suitable respect for the music legend and really communicates what JBJ's presence meant to everyone in the crowd. The attendance was listed at 11,750 faces — and he rocked them all.
Around the Internet, one of the more common takeaways from this report has been that Wall had never heard of Bon Jovi, but that's not terribly surprising. For a 22-year-old, Bon Jovi is only a notable band if that person watched a lot of VH1 as a kid. For everyone else, Bon Jovi is best known as one of the stars of "New Years Eve," which is to say that he's not known much at all.
The funniest bits here, really, are 1) that Jan Vesely, a 22-year-old native of Czech Republic, conforms to the stereotype that Eastern Europeans love music that was popular 20 years ago and 2) Raptors Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon took a photo with Bon Jovi (available at the top of this post) that apparently got sent to every Instagram filter at once. Clearly, these are players who just want to live while they're alive.