Nicholson hadn’t made a front-row appearance in nearly two years since attending last season’s opening game in 2021, per Showtime’s Rachel Nichols. The “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Chinatown” star celebrated his 86th birthday last week.
Even the Lakers’ Twitter account marked the moment with two words that needed no further explanation: “Jack’s back.”
Known for years for trash-talking and charming refs and opponents from the sidelines, Nicholson, a former point guard himself, has cheered the Lakers on through home games, hard times and playoff wins since the 1960s.
“Half the time he calls me Flip, the other half of the time he calls me Skip,” then-Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders told The Times during the 2004 NBA playoffs. “But he’s a great fan. He’s trying to get the Lakers pumped up. You love to see people show the passion he does for the game.”
Nicholson’s last acting role was in the 2010 romantic comedy “How Do You Know,” directed by fellow NBA fan James L. Brooks.
As the Lakers clinched their win on Friday they celebrated Nicholson’s return, giving the legendary actor his own close-up on the Crypto.com Arena Jumbotron.