Best Celebrity Fan for Every NBA Team
NBA celebrity fans are next level. The star power on the sidelines dates back to the 1970s (thank you, Jack) and is unrivaled in professional sports.
With the league's growth over the years, there is plenty of love to go around when it comes to finding an NBA team to get behind. Every NBA team has its own top celebrity fan, from Oscar winners to Grammy winners to some of the biggest names in music, film and television today.
Here is the biggest celebrity fan for each NBA team.
30. New Orleans Pelicans: Lil' Wayne
Day job: Grammy-winning rapper
Fan since: 2002, when the Charlotte Hornets moved their franchise to New Orleans
In his own words: "And when it comes down to this recordin'/I must be LeBron James if he's Jordan/No, I won rings with my performance/I'm more Kobe Bryant of an artist /Same coach, same game, been startin'/Same triangle offense" —Lil' Wayne, Show Me What You Got (Remix), 2005
Bottom Line: Lil' Wayne
The Pelicans are definitely due for their own celebrity fan, but none have stepped forward so far. Until that happens, Lil' Wayne gets the nod.
The New Orleans native has a lot of different allegiances when it comes to sports (most notably the Lakers and Heat in the NBA) but who says you just have to like one team?
Most people do, but in this case, we had to give Weezy some leeway.
29. Charlotte Hornets: Ben Folds
Day job: Platinum-selling singer/songwriter
Fan since: 1988, when the Hornets came to Charlotte, and Folds, recently graduated from UNC-Greensboro, was just starting his career playing bars and fraternity parties across North Carolina
In his own words: "My band Ben Folds Five are from NC and would like to volunteer to be a pit band @bobcats game this season." —Ben Folds, Twitter, November 2012
Bottom Line: Ben Folds
Ben Folds, you say? Of the Ben Folds Five? Why yes.
The indie rock impresario is a North Carolina native and was a Hornets fan dating back to before the team folded, came back as the Bobcats, then changed back to the Hornets.
Folds once famously volunteered his entire band, all North Carolina natives, to be the pit band for Bobcats games in the early 2010s.
28. Utah Jazz: Macklemore
Day job: Four-time Grammy Award-winning rapper
Fan since: At least 2012, when he first started wearing Jazz jerseys during performances
In his own words: "Shout to @macklemore for reppin (my) Jazz jersey in Rolling Stone." —Former Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, Twitter, August 2013
Bottom Line: Macklemore
This might seem like the most tenuous connection between team and fan on this list, but Macklemore has actually shown his support for the team over an extended period of time.
It started with Macklemore wearing Jazz jerseys during concerts in the early 2010s. Then, the Seattle native upped his celebrity fan game when he wore a Gordon Hayward jersey in a "Rolling Stone" profile in 2013.
27. Washington Wizards: Wale
Day job: Grammy Award-nominated rapper
Fan since: 1984, when he was born in Washington, D.C.
In his own words: "I'm excited to start building as the creative liaison for the Washington Wizards. As a D.C. native and lifelong Wizards fan, this is truly an exciting and organic relationship for me." —Wale, NBA.com, November 2014
Bottom Line: Wale
Washington, D.C., native Wale has been a fan of the NBA team in Washington back when they were the Bullets. He had a minor hiccup with the Wizards in the late 2000s over some "run-ins" with their players but has come back around.
He provides good brand representation for the team because he's cool, so they might want to keep him around. They named him their "Creative Liaison" in 2014, and he's even got his own Mitchell & Ness "remixed" Washington Bullets gear, including hoodies and a jersey.
26. Brooklyn Nets: Jay-Z
Day job: Platinum-selling rapper/producer
Fan since: 2003, when he bought a share of the New Jersey Nets
In his own words: "I woulda brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free/except I made millions off you dweebs/I still own the building, I'm keeping my seats." —Jay-Z, freestyle verse on New York radio station Hot 97, April 2013
Bottom Line: Jay-Z
In one of the great American stories, Jay-Z grew up in the Brooklyn projects, then eventually owned an NBA team in that same borough.
Jay-Z bought a share of the New Jersey Nets in 2003 and was one of the main protagonists in the team's lucrative move to its original home in Brooklyn and the Barclays Center.
Jay-Z sold his share of the team in 2014 and declared he'd be a Nets fan for life, which is good, because he also owns part of the Barclays Center.
25. Cleveland Cavaliers: Usher
Day job: Eight-time Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter
Fan since: 2005, when Usher bought a minority share of the team
In their own words: "In any case, Usher's investment is looking quite savvy: The Cavs are now worth $1.1 billion by our latest count, nearly four times the valuation around the time he bought his stake." —Forbes.com, June 2016
Bottom Line: Usher
Usher bought a minority stake in the Cavs and understandably jumped to the top of their celebrity fans list when he did. Even then, it was still a surprise to a lot of people when he was front and center during games as the Cavs won the NBA Finals in 2016.
Usher's initial investment was for roughly 2 percent of the team — $9 million — when the team was purchased for $375 million in 2005.
If his shares haven't been diluted, that investment is worth approximately $30 million to 35 million today with the team now valued at $1.51 billion.
Bottom Line: Brie Larson
The Kings should count themselves lucky that Brie Larson counts herself among their fans. The Oscar winner and "Captain Marvel" star is as A-list as they come in Hollywood.
Larson was born in Sacramento and lived there until she was 8 years old, when her mother moved her to Hollywood to pursue an acting career.
But Larson stayed loyal to the team.
23. Orlando Magic: Tiger Woods
Day job: Twelve-time PGA Tour Player of the Year, 15-time majors champion
Fan since: 1996, when Tiger Woods moved to Orlando
In his own words: "I'm really torn about the NBA Finals. I grew up a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan but I have season tickets to Orlando Magic games. Hopefully, it will be a great series." —Tiger Woods on his personal blog before the 2009 NBA Finals
Bottom Line: Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was always a welcome sight at Orlando Magic games, with his heyday as a fan stretching through most of the 2000s, when he was commonly seen courtside next to his ex-wife, Elin Nordegren.
Woods lived in Orlando for 15 years before moving to Jupiter, Florida, in 2011, and was close friends with some of the greatest NBA stars of all time, including Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
22. Minnesota Timberwolves: Craig Kilborn
Day job: Former host of "The Late Late Show," "The Daily Show" and "SportsCenter"
Fan since: 1989, the Minnesota Timberwolves' first year in the NBA
In his own words: "I have two words for you: bounce pass. I have two more words for you: groin pull." —Craig Kilborn, ahead of his workout with the Minnesota Timberwolves, October 2003
Bottom Line: Craig Kilborn
Before Craig Kilborn became one of ESPN's most well-known sports anchors and then a famous talk show host he was a high school basketball star in Minnesota.
Kilborn, who played college basketball for Montana State University, was such a fan of the Timberwolves that he even scored an invite from head coach Flip Saunders to work out with the team at their 2003 training camp.
21. Phoenix Suns: David Spade
Day job: Two-time Golden Globe-nominated actor/comedian
Fan since: David Spade's family moved to Phoenix in 1968 — the same year the Phoenix Suns came to town
In his own words: "Stan Van Gundy just asked me to get him a chicken parmesan. … I'm not really sure what he means, but he just pointed to the concourse and said, 'They're up there now go! Go! Go!" —David Spade during an in-game interview Fox Sports Arizona in November 2015
Bottom Line: David Spade
Admit it. This is probably your first time hearing that David Spade is an NBA fan at all. Well, he is, and the Scottsdale, Arizona, native has been a Phoenix Suns fan for quite some time. He even recruited former Phoenix star Amar'e Stoudemire for a funny promo video for the Suns.
Spade might be our most underrated NBA celebrity fan. Spade is about as Arizona as they come. He went to football powerhouse Saguaro High School, Scottsdale Community College and Arizona State.
And he got his start in comedy in the area.
20. Dallas Mavericks: Jamie Foxx
Day job: Oscar and Grammy-winning actor, singer and comedian
Fan since: 1980, when the Mavericks played their first season in Dallas
In his own words: "I am from Texas so I am a Mavericks fan. And Kobe (Bryant) heard Mavericks? 'I thought you were a winner … you're gonna need some water, because you're about to choke on my fifth ring.'" —Jamie Foxx, August 2020
Bottom Line: Jamie Foxx
Texas native Jamie Foxx has been a Dallas Mavericks fan since the team came to Texas when he was in junior high school, even working his fandom into one of his standup routines about how he remembered Dr. J destroying the team in its early days.
Foxx has lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years but stays loyal to the Mavs despite constant ribbing from close friends and ex-Laker greats like Magic Johnson and the late Kobe Bryant.
He was even in the Mavericks' championship parade following their NBA title in 2014.
Bottom Line: Aaron Rodgers
We didn't include many athletes on this list for one main reason — most are cheering for teams with which their only real connection is they play for another pro team in the same city. But Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is different.
He's been on another level as a fan of teams in Wisconsin since almost immediately after he was drafted in 2005. Rodgers is a mainstay at Brewers games, Bucks games and University of Wisconsin men's and women's basketball games.
Oh, did we mention he also bought a share of the Bucks in 2018?
18. Portland Trail Blazers: Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen
Day jobs: Co-creators of Emmy-nominated comedy series "Portlandia"
Fans since: 2010, when Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen filmed the first episodes of "Portlandia"
In their own words: "The best moment comes afterward, in the locker room, as [LaMarcus] Aldridge, [Thomas] Robinson, [Robin] Lopez and [Damian] Lillard sit dejectedly. Toni [Brownstein] and Candace [Armisen] can't understand why the players aren't excited about the new Blazer Dancers. The players are bummed because 'we lost the game.' But the Blazer Dancers read poetry, Toni and Candace say. Reading poetry at a basketball game doesn't really fit, the players say." —Oregonian review of Portlandia, Season 4, Episode 7 "Trail Blazers," in 2014
Bottom Line: Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen
These two are probably the newest on our list of celebrity NBA fans, but they're also among the most talented.
Carrie Brownstein founded rock group Sleater-Kinney before teaming with former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Fred Armisen to create the comedy series "Portlandia" — set in Portland and with a deep love of the Trail Blazers.
How much so? Brownstein and Armisen have featured the Blazers on two separate episodes: "Trail Blazers" in Season 4 and "Friend Convention" starring Damian Lillard in Season 6.
Bottom Line: Justin Timberlake
Memphis native Justin Timberlake was worth an estimated $250 million by Forbes magazine in 2020, and some of that money has come from his deft investment in the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012 alongside his wife, actress Jessica Biel.
That was when the Grizzlies were purchased by a group of investors for approximately $350 million to $375 million.
The team was valued at approximately $1.3 billion in 2020.
16. Denver Nuggets: Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Day job: Co-creators of the Emmy-award winning show "South Park" and the Tony Award-winning musical "The Book of Mormon"
Fans since: The early 1990s, at least, when Trey Parker and Matt Stone met as students at the University of Colorado
In their own words: "When Cartman learns that Kyle and Nichole have gone to Denver to watch an NBA game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers together, he goes to the Pepsi Center arena, and makes an impassioned plea on the arena's Jumbotron for couples to recognize the importance of perseverance in their relationships." —South Park, Season 16, Episode 7, "Cartman Finds Love," in 2012
Bottom Line: Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Colorado natives Trey Parker and Matt Stone are both big enough Nuggets fans that they even allowed the use of several of their iconic "South Park" characters in crowd hype videos during home games in Denver.
It shouldn't be a surprise these guys love hoops. They're also behind the movie "BASEketball," and the NBA has been a frequent target of ridicule on their shows.
15. Oklahoma City Thunder: Bill Hader
Day job: Three-time Emmy Award-winning actor/comedian
Fan since: 2008, when the Thunder played their first game in Oklahoma City
In his own words: "I thought that the way they went out this year was, I mean that shot by Damian Lillard was rough. I was yelling at my TV at Paul George to get up in his face. 'Why aren’t you on him! You’re like six inches taller than him, get in his face!' I was at home in front of my TV standing up like this going, 'Ahhhh! What are you doing?!' His name is Logo, that’s his shot." —Bill Hader on "Desus and Mero" talking about the OKC Thunder, May 2019
Bottom Line: Bill Hader
If you want to know what kind of a fan Tulsa native Bill Hader is, please just read that quote on former Thunder guard Paul George giving up an epic shot to Damian Lillard in the NBA playoffs … dude is deep in the celebrity fan game.
Hader has joked about being the Thunder's version of Jack Nicholson, but with the success of his hit HBO show "Barry" and back-to-back blockbuster smash movies with the "It" franchise, Hader is becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
14. Houston Rockets: Travis Scott
Day job: Five-time Grammy-nominated rapper
Fan since: 1991, when Scott was born in Houston
In his own words: "As a Texan, as a Rockets fan, I could never lose faith in (the Rockets). I always think they can take it to the next level." —Travis Scott, ESPN interview, January 2020
Bottom Line: Travis Scott
If there's a Newcomer of the Decade Award for NBA celebrity fans to be given out, we want Travis Scott to have it.
Scott was actually affiliated with the Rockets before he shot to stardom — he was a ballboy for the Rockets as a teenager when Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming were stars.
Now, he sits courtside and sold out his specially "remixed" Rockets gear from Mitchell & Ness in minutes, and the team has even hosted a Travis Scott bobblehead night at the Toyota Center.
Bottom Line: Kevin Hart
As Kevin Hart's fame exploded over the last decade thanks to a series of stand-up specials and blockbuster movies, we've become more and more aware of how much he loves his Philly teams.
No one can top Hart's impressions of his NBA friends, a close circle that includes Shaq and LeBron James.
Hart is now worth an estimated $200 million and has become an even bigger presence at Sixers games.
12. Chicago Bulls: John Cusack
Day job: Actor
Fan since: 1980s, around the time the team drafted Michael Jordan and John Cusack had his breakout role in the 1985 film "The Sure Thing"
In his own words: "MJ bulls doc - mj the GOAT - not debatable to anyone who saw him play - it’s like trying to compare a great white shark to anything else in the ocean." —John Cusack, Twitter, April 2020
Bottom Line: John Cusack
How much of a Bulls fan is John Cusack? For proof, look no further than the hit documentary "The Last Dance" about the Chicago Bulls' 1997-98 season, which Cusack appeared in several times in old footage.
Cusack is a native son of Chicago and has always been a vocal fan of the city's teams — except the White Sox.
He starred in "Eight Men Out" about the Black Sox, and he's a Cubs fan.
11. Detroit Pistons: Eminem
Day job: Fifteen-time Grammy Award-winning rapper/producer
Fan since: Early 1980s, when he moved to Detroit from Missouri
In his own words: "Detroit, welcome them back for the first time in over 40 years to our city, to my city, to your city! Make some noise for the Detroit Pistons. Let's go!" —Eminem, pregame Pistons vs. Hornets, October 2017
Bottom Line: Eminem
There is no greater hype man you could have for opening an arena than Eminem, who did just that when the Detroit Pistons moved into Little Caesar's Arena in 2017 after 30 years in The Palace at Auburn Hills.
The team was known for its "Bad Boys" era of the late 1980s and early 1990s, so it was a fitting welcome from the celebrity who defines Detroit more than anyone ever has.
10. Atlanta Hawks: Lil' Jon
Day job: Platinum-selling rapper/DJ
Fan since: The mid-1970s, when he was a child growing up in Atlanta.
In his own words: "MY GOOD FRIEND IS TRYING TO BUY THE ATLANTA HAWKS. I THINK I'M GONNA TRY AND BE A PART OF THAT DEAL! #ATL" —Lil' Jon, Twitter, September 2014
Bottom Line: Lil' Jon
There are plenty of celebrity fans on this list who adopted their team almost as an offshoot of their fame itself. Not rapper Lil' Jon.
Born Jonathan Smith in Atlanta in 1971, the "King of Crunk" was only three years behind the Hawks moving to Atlanta in 1968.
There's not another NBA team that can boast of a better duo of fans/rappers than the Hawks with Lil' Jon and 2 Chainz.
9. Indiana Pacers: Mike Epps
Day job: Two-time NAACP Image Award-winning actor/comedian
Fan since: Epps says he's been a Pacers fan since the late 1970s
In his own words: "Man, I’ve been a Pacers fan since Billy Knight, since the late ’70s, so to talk to me about Pacers, I’m just a die-hard fan, period." —Mike Epps, The Undefeated interview, October 2019
Bottom Line: Mike Epps
We put a lot of weight into celebrity fans who we know were with that team before their fame hit. Mike Epps is one of those.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, he's been a Pacers fan his entire life. Anyone that can shout out former Pacers star Billy Knight is going to make us pay attention right away.
That's deep basketball knowledge, Mr. Epps.
8. Boston Celtics: Matt Damon
Day job: Oscar-winning actor, screenwriter
Fan since: Matt Damon was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1970
In his own words: "(Mark) Wahlberg and I are like 'Oh my God!' and (Los Angeles Lakers head coach) Phil Jackson calls the timeout, he just spins on us and goes, 'Sit down and shut the (expletive) up!' He was so mad." —Matt Damon on "The Bill Simmons Podcast," 2019
Bottom Line: Matt Damon
Few celebrities ride for their hometowns like Cambridge-born Matt Damon and best friend Ben Affleck have for Boston, with Damon spearheading the Celtics fandom for Hollywood.
Damon and fellow Boston native Mark Wahlberg famously got shouted down by Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson while sitting on the sideline at the Staples Center during the 2008 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics went on to win the championship.
7. Miami Heat: Jimmy Buffett
Day job: Beach-loving singer/songwriter/pirate
Fan since: 1988, when the Miami Heat played their first NBA game
In their own words: "I told (NBA referee) Joe Forte, I said, 'Do you know who that is? Do you mean to tell me you've never been a Parrothead in your life? So that tells you where our officials are coming from. (Forte) thought I was insulting him. He wanted to give me a technical for calling him a Parrothead," —Miami Heat coach Pat Riley after Jimmy Buffett was ejected from a Miami Heat game in 2001
Bottom Line: Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett has been a mainstay at Miami Heat games since not long after the team came to town in 1988, even singing the national anthem before several of them.
Buffett's celebrity fan status shot into the stratosphere on Feb. 4, 2001, when NBA referee Joe Forte ejected Buffett from his courtside seat during a Knicks-Heat game in Miami for arguing calls.
Forte had no idea who Buffett was.
6. Toronto Raptors: Drake
Day job: Four-time Grammy Award-winning rapper
Fan since: 1995, when Drake was 9 years old and the Raptors played their first game
In his own words: "It wasn't just about being a Raptors fan that day. It was about being Canadian. It was about showing love. It was about celebrating something that I'm sure we all believed at one point might never happen, and that's winning an NBA championship." —Drake, TSN interview on 2019 championship parade in Toronto, December 2019
Bottom Line: Drake
Few celebrity fans in the history of team sports are as synonymous with a single team as Toronto-born Drake, who seems to go hand-in-hand with the Raptors.
He's been the Raptors' global ambassador since 2013 and been on hand for their greatest moments, including the 2019 NBA championship.
On top of that, he has trolled the game's best players at a level previously unseen even in a league known for as much.
5. Los Angeles Clippers: Billy Crystal
Day job: Six-time Emmy Award-winning actor/comedian
Fan since: Crystal first bought Clippers season tickets in 1985, when they were still playing at the Los Angeles Sports Arena
In his own words: "I had Lakers season tickets for a while, and they were great, but it was no challenge. I wanted to support an underdog. It's been rough, but we're getting good." —Billy Crystal interview, December 2012
Bottom Line: Billy Crystal
The sheer amount of loyalty that Billy Crystal has shown to the Los Angeles Clippers over the last five decades isn't just commendable. It puts him among the greatest celebrity sports fans of all time.
The nine-time Oscar host even did color commentary for a Clippers-Lakers game in January 2019 to honor longtime Clippers radio man Ralph Lawler's 40th anniversary with the team.
Now, that's impressive.
4. Golden State Warriors: E-40
Day job: BET Award-winning rapper
Fan since: 1967, when E-40 was born Earl Stevens in Northern California
In his own words: "Rick Barry always amazed me—he was one of the best free-throw shooters of all time, and he used to throw it underhand. When he shot the ball, he was shooting underhand! He had the most unique shot in the world." —E-40, GQ Magazine, April 2019
Bottom Line: E-40
E-40, a Vallejo, California, native is the king of celebrity fans among Bay Area sports teams — meaning he's been with the teams through thick and thin during his time in the spotlight and before.
He even once famously had a basketball court built inside his home in 1996 with a Warriors logo on it.
He's even got a regular dominoes game going with Warriors star Draymond Green.
3. San Antonio Spurs: Eva Longoria
Day job: Golden Globe-nominated actress
Fan since: 1975, when Longoria was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, just two years after the Spurs came to San Antonio
In her own words: "I've been a Spurs fan my whole life! And an even bigger Pop fan! #GoSpursGo" —Eva Longoria, Twitter, June 2013
Bottom Line: Eva Longoria
One of the OG NBA celebrity fans, Corpus Christi native Eva Longoria's dedication to the Spurs goes back to before she was married to former point guard Tony Parker from 2007 to 2010.
Longoria has been a Spurs fan her entire life and finally started coming back to games at the start of the 2019-20 season — one year after Parker's retirement.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jack Nicholson
Day job: Three-time Oscar-winning actor
Fan since: At least 1970, when Nicholson first purchased Lakers season tickets
In his own words: "I teased (Kobe Bryant) the first time we met. It was at the Garden in New York, and I offered him a basketball and asked him if he wanted me to autograph it for him. He looked at me like I was crazy." —Jack Nicholson, CBS Los Angeles interview, January 2020
Bottom Line: Jack Nicholson
Along with our No. 1 pick, Jack Nicholson is the gold standard not just for NBA celebrity fans but for celebrity fans across all sports.
Nicholson, a 12-time Oscar nominee, has been a Lakers season-ticket holder since 1970. That means he's been courtside for 11 NBA titles.
His dedication to the team really is the stuff of legend, including setting his filming schedule up around Laker games and traveling with the team for road games during the playoffs and NBA Finals.
Related:Five Amazing Celebrity Sports Stories
1. New York Knicks: Spike Lee
Day job: Oscar-winning director/screenwriter/producer
Fan since: The early 1960s, when Spike Lee's family moved from Atlanta to Brooklyn
In his own words: "So, yeah, I've spent about $300,000 on Knicks tickets every year for the last 30 years … so about $10 million. I feel stupid now!" —Spike Lee on ESPN's First Take, March 2020
Bottom Line: Spike Lee
One of the two greatest celebrity fans the NBA has ever seen, alongside Lakers fan Jack Nicholson, Spike Lee has been synonymous with the Knicks almost since the moment he came into the public eye in the late 1980s.
Lee's long-suffering commitment and ultimate loyalty to the Knicks put him at the top of our list. The Knicks have won two NBA titles, but none since 1973.
Spike has seen the Knicks go to the NBA Finals twice since he became a season-ticket holder, losing to the Rockets in 1994 and the Spurs in 1999.
Related:Best NBA Players by Team