'Real' basketball fans hit out at David Beckham

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A backlash is brewing against David Beckham and his fellow band of famous Lakers fans, whose prime seats cost up to $20,000 each

He might look bored rigid, but don’t let appearances fool you: this picture shows Mr David Beckham and his eldest son, Brooklyn, living the Hollywood dream.

The occasion is Sunday night’s crucial play-off between the former England captain’s local basketball side, the Los Angeles Lakers, and their arch-rivals, the Boston Celtics. It’s half way through the fifth of a seven-match series that will decide who gets to call themselves NBA champions 2008 - and things are tenser than a tightly-cocked rubber band.

But enough about the game; let’s talk about the really interesting bit: its audience. In Hollywood right now, the only place for a self-respecting celebrity to be seen is courtside of the basketball arena at the Staples Centre in downtown LA.

Sunday’s game saw a veritable Oscar party's worth of celebrity fans. In addition to Becks, at recent games you've had, in no particular order: P.Diddy, Larry David, Will Smith and his wife Jada, Justin Timberlake, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Sly Stallone, and Robert Downey Jnr. Not to mention wee Floyd Mayweather fighting for elbow room with Denzel Washington.

Taking pride of place just behind the opposition bench was Laker fanatic Jack Nicholson, who attends almost all of their 60-odd games each year, and has even been granted his own “song” by the in house organist: a high-pitched version of Hit the Road, Jack. In the cheap seats behind him snappers spotted Tobey Maguire, Paula Abdul, Lionel Richie and his daughter Nicole, and Jennifer Garner.

If it sounds like overkill, that’s because it probably was. But oddly, in a town that usually worships at the altar of celebrity, a backlash is brewing against Beckham and his fellow band of famous Lakers fans, whose prime seats cost up to $20,000 each.

The Los Angeles Times ran a comment piece on Sunday complaining that the demand for tickets at the 20,000 seat arena has inflated prices to the point where real fans are unable to come. And while Beckham and co are perfectly happy to be seen courtside at the showpiece events, they are rather less eager to abandon their hard-fought dignity and actually cheer the Lakers on.

As a result, writer Bill Plaschke – a legendary name in local journalistic circles – complains that the atmosphere at the Staples centre for the paly-off matches has been a pale shadow of its normal self. In a Californian version of Roy Keane's famous "prawn sandwich" rant, he complains that the lack of passion on display in the stands has started to affect the team.

In recent games, the Celtics have mounted a series of unlikely comebacks to win games they had no right to. In one match on what was supposed to be their opposition’s home turf, they turned round a 24-point defecit, to win in the dying seconds. As a resut, at the time these pictures were taken on Sunday, Boston had taken a 3-1 lead in the series.

Plaschke blames the celebrity circus for at least part of the defeat, singling out Beckham (who has attended all three home games) for criticism. “Think about it,” reads his piece. “Has anyone actually seen David Beckham clap? Do many of these people even watch the game?”

Nodding in agreement is a noted Lakers nut called Michael Balzary, who is better known as the performer “Flea” of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. “More people are coming for the big deal event, and fewer for the basketball,” Balzary tells Plaschke. “And I notice that when the Lakers get down, people have gotten real quiet… Everyone is staring at their shoes, real quiet. A 20,000 person funeral march of zombies.”

Looking at the picture of Mr Beckham and his son, you might be inclined to agree. But maybe, in his defence, our nation’s most successful export is attempting to teach his American hosts the virtues of good, old fashioned English restraint.

Either way, Beckham's understated performance appears not harm the Lakers on Sunday: they closed out the game in the dying stages to win 103-98, and come back to 2-3 in the series. The circus now moves to Boston, where the Celtics play the Lakers in the sixth game of the series later today. Due to his fotballing committments, Becks will be well advised to watch on telly.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
food + drinkClue: You'll either love them or you'll hate them
News
Howard Marks has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he has announced
people
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project