Tech honchos have descended on Oracle Arena, the Warriors’ soon-to-be-replaced home court that has looked a lot like Madison Square Garden the past two months. In game one of the NBA Finals on Thursday with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in town, the average ticket price for a seat was well over $1,000. Courtside seats sold for more than $50,000 apiece. At Sunday’s Game Two, longtime Apple exec Eddy Cue sat at half court. On the other side, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum cheered on the Warriors just three seats over from well-known investor Ben Horowitz. On Thursday, Warrior’s owner and former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Joe Lacob had to move away from the fan sitting courtside next to him because she was cheering for James. That fan was Rihanna.
As he told it at Chat Sports’ Minds Behind the Game panel, he tired of Rihanna’s boisterous rooting for LeBron, and needed a buffer. In a later segment of the panel, Lacob estimated that Rihanna paid $50k per seat for the game, which is insane. Though, she probably more than recouped her cost in all-important, priceless Internet publicity.
A recent study from the Triange Offense shows that most players and teams play better with Rihanna in the building. The Barclays Center, home of her beloved Nets, are 4-1 when Rihanna attends home games. “I have to support the Nets,” she said the night Barclays Center opened in September 2012. “They’re part of my clique.”
There were plenty of celebrities at Barclays Center night for Saturday’s festivities. The list included rappers Nicki Minaj, Common and Ludacris, singer Rihanna, comedian Kevin Hart, tennis icon John McEnroe, boxer Floyd Mayweather, actors Adrian Grenier and Michael Rapaport and director Spike Lee.
Another in the long list of reasons to love Joel Embiid which is only going to get longer. He also dished on how his pursuit of Rihanna on Twitter went. “We went on a date and had fun.”
Remember the photo of James Young sitting next to Rihanna at courtside during a playoff game between Toronto and Brooklyn? It appeared Young, the former Kentucky shooting guard, was checking out Rihanna, the pop superstar. Young vehemently denied that was the case. “I saw it (the photo); it was crazy,” Young told me. “It might have looked like I was looking, but I was looking at the ground. It made it look like I was staring at her, but I really wasn’t.” Young said he did have a brief, friendly chat with Rihanna, though. “I talked to her a little bit; I didn’t want to sweat it because everybody around her was talking to her,” Young said. “She’s really nice. She’s really sweet.”
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Smith’s image took a further blow when his former friend, Rihanna, stated on her Instagram account that his playoff woes stemmed from his being “hung over.’’ Rihanna deleted the post after a request from CAA superagent Leon Rose, who represents Smith.
Rihanna alleged Thursday what many Knicks fans already suspected about J.R. Smith and his playoff woes. In a comment on Instagram, the singer wrote that Smith is struggling because “his a** be hungover from clubbing every night during playoffs.” Smith has shot just 28.6 percent from the field since Game 5 of the first round series against the Celtics. The Knicks are down 3-1 and facing elimination heading into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Pacers.
I can’t blame J.R. Smith if he’s distracted by Rhianna, but Carmelo Anthony is convinced that when the Knicks take the floor Smith’s mind will be right. “I don’t want to speak on that,” Anthony said of the talk about Smith’s nightlife. “To me, he’s focused now. He’s here with us, when he’s here he’s here. Whatever he’s been doing in his spare time he does in his spare time. “My thing to J.R., I want him to remain positive regardless of what’s going on off the court, what’s being said about him. If you don’t have a positive attitude throughout these situations it’s going to make everything tough.”
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Rihanna’s summer has been mostly smooth sailing. The singer recently welcomed NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson aboard a yacht she has been sailing around the Mediterranean.
The suit does not name Brown or Drake, who have both dated Rihanna, as defendants, but blames the club for creating the combustible combination. “She’s been known, like Helen of Troy, to cause trouble,” Jaroslawicz said. Sources said Drake, 25, sent Brown, 23, into a rage when his table sent over a note that read, “I am f–king the love of your life.” Brown had just bought the hip-hop star a pricey bottle of champagne, sources said. Drake’s camp maintains the fight was instigated by a member of Brown’s crew. Jaroslawicz said it’s the club’s fault. By selling both camps bottle service, “you’re throwing gasoline on the flames,” he said.
This wasn’t the kind of bottle service NBA star Tony Parker had in mind. The San Antonio Spurs guard (pictured) — injured in the Chris Brown-Drake melee at a SoHo nightclub — filed a $20 million lawsuit against its owners yesterday, saying they should have known better than to let the Rihanna love rivals in at the same time. In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Parker holds W.i.P.’s owners responsible for the “corneal laceration of the left eye and other injuries” he suffered in the bottle-throwing brawl at the now-shuttered Vandam Street club.
Stars including Mary J. Blige, Fabolous and hoopsters Tony Parker of the Spurs and Iman Shumpert of the Knicks were among those at the bash before the fight. Revelers hoisted pricey bottles of champagne in the air. Each bottle was adorned with sprinklers.
They love Rihanna, but still hate each other. A festering beef between R&B singer Chris Brown and rapper Drake over their gorgeous ex-girlfriend exploded Thursday into a bloody, bottle-throwing melee inside a packed Manhattan club. Drake, accompanied by a menacing 15-member entourage, incited the predawn brawl by rejecting Brown’s peace offering — a $2,000 bottle of Ace of Spades champagne — and sending back an incendiary note, police sources said.
French-speaking BDL readers can check out video of a sunglasses-sporting Parker explaining the ocular occurrence at a Friday press conference, thanks to Magana300M (via Nigel D at RealTalk NY). The rest of us can check out this translation from Reuters’ Gregory Blachier: The three-time NBA champion said he got some shards of glass in his left eye during the incident on Wednesday. “I was there with a bunch of friends when a fight broke out. They started to throw bottles about … I got it all,” Parker told a news conference. “The cornea has been touched. I can’t do anything for seven days … But I was lucky. The injury won’t prevent me from competing the Olympics in any way,” he added.
Rihanna definitely has a type. Sources tell us that the “We Found Love” singer has found another tattooed bad boy to stoke her considerable passion: New York Knick J.R. Smith. We hear the danger-loving Barbadian beauty and the ballplayer have been quietly keeping time together for weeks, and one down-South source tells us that they were “definitely hanging out” in Miami this weekend after Smith’s run-in with cops there on Thursday.