Let's be real: Going to games can be a chore. Parking, traffic and/or public transportation can be a nightmare at times, and now that the Philadelphia 76ers are good, you actually need to sit next to people and you no longer have the ability to stretch yourself/your belongings out across multiple seats/rows.
So we here at Liberty Ballers salute all of you who make the trek to the Wells Fargo Center (or your nearby NBA arena) to cheer on your favorite team. We'd also like to tip our collective caps to those celebrities who show up at Sixers' games even though they could probably be at home doing whatever it is that famous people do (read: play Overwatch and eat lasagna like the rest of us).
With the Sixers being the hottest ticket in town these days, we figured this was as good a time as any to put together...
THE DEFINITIVE RANKING OF CELEBRITY SIXERS FANS
10) Ryan Phillippe (actor): Ryan Phillippe is one of those guys who I feel like I should recognize on sight, but unless he walked into the Liberty Ballers' offices with a customized jersey that said "PHILLIPPE" on the back, I wouldn't be able to pick him out of a lineup.
The 43-year-old actor is a Delaware native who also happens to be a fan of his local-ish basketball team, but to be honest, I didn't even know he was a Sixers' fan until the great Molly Sullivan interviewed him during the Orlando Magic game. A few more appearances at the Center will solidify his place on this list, at which point I'll need to go back and watch his seminal masterpiece: "I Know What You Did Last Summer".
9) Michael Levin (creator, Alive In Denver; writer, Trial and Error; co-host of a Sixers podcast that shall remain nameless; guy who gave me a Chipotle BOGO coupon once): We'll keep this brief because we don't want to come off biased. That said, if you have a platform and you don't use it to show love to your friends and people you like, then you're doing it wrong.
Swap! pic.twitter.com/ryevGOP8pm— John Gonzalez (@_JohnGonz) May 17, 2017
Not only did Mr. Levin work "Trust The Process" into an episode of a major network comedy (“The Grinder”, which got canceled WAY too early), but his upcoming series "Alive In Denver" has a high school named after Hollis Thompson.
Some of you may say that Mike isn't REALLY famous, but merely “famous” on a micro level. My counter-argument to that? A link to his IMDB page. If you've made it to the Internet Movie Database, you truly are a star.
8) Mike Trout (future Philadelphia Phillies outfielder, collector of footballs): Trout is probably a bigger Eagles' fan than anything, but he's made it to his fair share of Sixers' games over the years. His Sixers' fandom came to light when he posted a photo of himself on Twitter wearing a whole-ass Ben Simmons uniform back in August. He's also on #TeamBringLeBronToPhilly, so he's basically one of us (with the exception of his otherworldly baseball talent).
#TrustTheProcess pic.twitter.com/bnVPXH0Xjp— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) August 9, 2017
7) Nicki Minaj (singer, actress): I question her Sixers' fandom, but she DID attend quite a few games back when the team wasn't doing so well. Granted, she was likely there because her then-boyfriend was a Sixers' fan, but I ask my wife all the time to go to games with me, and she tells me that those episodes of Supernatural on the DVR won't watch themselves.
6) Meek Mill (former boyfriend, Nicki Minaj; rapper who got a bum deal at his parole hearing): They literally play Meek Mill songs before tip-off while Meek Mill is sitting courtside. Joel Hans Embiid visited Meek in prison. And Sixers' co-owner Michael Rubin wrote a letter asking the Court of Common Pleas to exercise leniency in light of Meek's recent probation violation.
And then there's this.
On nights like tonight, all you need to soften the blow of a Sixers loss is a video of @MeekMill doing a front flip pic.twitter.com/7Kfv4jM9K4— Josh Reynolds (@JoshReynolds24) October 21, 2017
5) Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith (minority owners, Philadelphia 76ers): You don't buy a portion of any team unless you're a fan, and the Smiths have been part of the Sixers' ownership group ever since Josh Harris purchased the team in 2011.
Mr. Smith isn't just a silent partner, however: He hung out with the team at a preseason dinner last fall. He also loves (loved?) Doug Collins.
Confession Friday: I spent a non-insignificant portion of my life telling people that Will Smith was my cousin simply because his mother and my father used to work together. As a 9-year-old, I was told that he might make an appearance at my sister's high school graduation celebration, but sadly, The Fresh Prince never made it to the party. I assume he spent the afternoon hanging out at the Plateau. Because that's where everybody goes.
4) M. Night Shyamalan (director, The Sixth Sense): It feels like M. Night Shyamalan is in the house for at least 8-10 games a year. In fact, I think he shoots most of his movies in and around the area just so he can check out Embiid and Co. when shooting wraps for the day.
Ben Simmons scores the FG... M Knight Shyamalan & Samuel L. Jackson approve! pic.twitter.com/IjV9UGEjnD— NBA (@NBA) October 21, 2017
Bryan Cranston and Samuel L. Jackson have hung out courtside with Shyamalan, whose daughter once sang the National Anthem prior to a game... which happened to be on "M. Night Shyamalan Night" (they could have done better when it came to the name, but whatever).
3) Marc Lamont Hill (professor, author, journalist, host of Basketball Wives reunion shows): When I first heard the news that Hill had taken a job at Columbia back in 2010, my first thought was "Welp... guess we won't be seeing him at games anymore."
That would prove not to be the case: Almost without fail, Hill could be found in his customary seat right next to the basket. Throughout the years, Hill has been the one constant at the Wells Fargo Center: They cut to him on the Jumbotron virtually every time the Sixers make a run, and he's logged more air time on NBC Sports Philadelphia over the past five years than Danny Pommells.
2) Old Man Knees (real estate developer): If you've watched a Sixers' home game at any point over the past 10-plus years, you may have noticed a man affectionately known as "Old Man Knees."
Alan Horwitz is the man who sits right next to the home team bench and daps up players as they check out of the game. More accurately, Alan Horwitz is the man who kneels in front of (or next to) his chair whenever the Sixers are in a nail-biter.
The courtside seats Mr. Horwitz has tickets to probably cost $337,409 per season (estimated), yet he only sits on the actual cushioned portion of his seat for about 62% of game action. He's our Jimmy Goldstein, and he doesn't get near enough shine for our liking.
Hang on, Alan... we're coming in for a landing.
1) Kevin Hart (voice, Captain Underpants - The First Epic Movie): Between frequent trips to the Wells Fargo Center and hijacking Joel Embiid post-game interviews, Hart is at the top of the mountain when it comes to celebrity Sixers' fans.
I know Kevin, this game is crazy. #SixersTalk pic.twitter.com/afs4T3fi4j— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 25, 2017
Hart has gone on The Rich Eisen Show, Preston & Steve, and The Jimmy Kimmel Show to talk Sixers, and he even showed up at PCOM once to talk the coaching staff into giving him a tryout. And, much like Mike Levin, he also has an IMDB page, thus vaulting him to the top of the rankings.
You can expect to see Hart on the lead float of the championship parade coming in 2020. Whether or not he's sitting next to LeBron remains to be seen.