LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jack is back.

Los Angeles Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson was watching at courtside for the first time in nearly two years Friday night when his team hosted the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series.

The 86-year-old Nicholson hadn’t been in his usual seats in the Lakers’ downtown arena since last season’s opening game in October 2021, but the three-time Academy Award-winning actor returned to his famed spot near the opposing bench with his son.

Nicholson was a fixture in the last half-century of Lakers history, cheering on the team through several eras of success after getting his season tickets in 1970. He was the most prominent face in the Lakers’ gallery of celebrity fans, his sunglasses and famous grin ever-present at courtside — and occasionally on the court if he was particularly displeased by an official’s call.

Nicholson cheered while the Showtime Lakers racked up championships and captured Hollywood’s imagination, and he remained an avid fan while they won five more titles in the Kobe Bryant era. He famously adjusted his shooting schedules and personal meetings to keep himself free to catch every big Lakers game.

Nicholson rarely attended games after fans returned to the Lakers’ building following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the chance to watch the Lakers attempt to win a playoff series at home for the first time since 2013 was irresistible to their No. 1 fan.


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