After a narrow defeat Tuesday night, the Golden State Warriors are heading into Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
From Rick Barry to Steph Curry and Wilt Chamberlain to LeBron James, both teams have been home to some of the best ever to play the game. The respective talent pools of each franchise has, in turn, attracted many high-profile fans—many of whom can often be spotted sitting courtside at Chase Center in San Francisco and the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
In the runup to this series, we at The Standard got to wondering what would happen if the movie stars, rap icons and business moguls on the sidelines were asked to lace up their sneakers and hit the hardwood. And so, we asked artificial intelligence to help us field a team of celebrity players for both sides.
Some of ChatGPT’s picks were downright bizarre—in the best way. After sifting through the results, and with a little bit of human input, we came up with a fantasy basketball team of our and AI’s dreams.
The hyphy pioneer, Bay Area rapper and food and beverage entrepreneur is a frequent courtside presence at Warriors games. He even has a Warriors-themed basketball court at his house and released a Warriors-focused remix of his single “Choices (Yup).” As the voice and face of the Warriors’ fanbase, he could double as a player and as the Warriors’ hype man.
In another universe, Zendaya and Warriors player Jordan Poole could have been an item—Poole asked the Euphoria star out on a double date via Instagram in 2019. Even though that pairing didn’t pan out, the Oakland-born actress is still rooting for the team. Her background in hula and hip-hop dancing, as well as previous stunt work for Spiderman: No Way Home, would make her a uniquely equipped mover on the team.
Misty Copeland—American Ballet Theatre’s first Black principal dancer—may only be 5 feet 2 inches tall, but no one would be able to match the barrier-breaking ballerina’s grace on the court. We expect that the Golden State Warriors superfan would not only bring her passion but also her superb poise to plays.
Oscar winner and Bay Area native Mahershala Ali would be a strong team player for the Warriors. The Moonlight star not only played basketball in high school and on scholarship at Saint Mary’s College, but he also deeply admires Warriors Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. “They all are talented in their own right,” Ali told the Mercury News, “but they understand that they have to share and support one another.”
The retired NFL running back’s East Bay roots run deep—his hometown is Oakland, he played for Cal and even did a stint with the Raiders right before they moved to Las Vegas. He’s also friends with the Warriors’ Draymond Green. With Lynch’s football background, we believe Lynch and Green could be a power duo on the court.
The Oakland rap star has been a longtime Warriors' fan and has even ridden a fire-breathing snail in honor of the team. That die-hard dedication makes him a perfect fit for coaching because he’d do almost anything for the team.
While Musk’s loyalty to the Warriors is up for debate—he saved LeBron’s blue checkmark but nixed Curry’s? 🤔—the controversial tech titan probably does have enough dough to buy the team. And as we’ve seen with the mogul’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, once he puts his mind to something, his determination is dogged. Musk could play the role of evil team owner to a tee, and fans could expect him to bring a ruthless business mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
Snoop Dogg’s love for basketball goes back to his high school days and rapping about the NBA in “Hoop Dreams.” The actor and entertainer even briefly rooted for the Warriors, although he turned on Jordan Poole recently. But we predict that the longtime Lakers' fan will return to supporting the Purple and Gold. He’s one of the team’s most vocal fans and critics, so we expect that Snoop would hold the team to a high bar as point guard.
Actor-rapper Ice Cube’s loyalty to the Lakers is undeniable. He made that clear in “It Was a Good Day,” when he celebrated the Lakers beating the SuperSonics. Cube has even claimed that he’s been a Lakers' fan since he was in his mother’s womb, and Lakers legends Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson are among his idols. We predict this level of dedication would make Ice Cube a top gun for the team.
The Grammy-winning singer and brains behind Fenty Beauty isn’t shy about sporting her Lakers pride on her Instagram. The pop star would not only be able to bring some serious game to the half-time show as she did at the Super Bowl, but she’d also bring her Fenty fashion flair to the court.
Crooner John Legend could also pull off a powerhouse half-time show or belt out a beautiful National Anthem at a Lakers vs. Warriors game. But his loyalties would squarely sit with the Purple and Gold. “I've been a big Lakers' fan since Magic, Worthy & Kareem,” Legend told ESPN. It wouldn’t be surprising if Legend’s ride-or-die Chrissy Teigen came along for the ride, so their strong bond would be a teamwork plus!
One of the biggest stand-up comics in the world, actor and funnyman Kevin Hart has been spotted at many a Lakers game. Despite the fact that he is a Philadelphia ’76ers' fan—and completely ignoring the fact that he is even shorter than Muggsy Bogues, the shortest NBA player in history—ChatGPT decided to cast Hart in the position of center in our little fantasy franchise experiment. It would seem that AI isn’t going to be putting any basketball talent scouts out of a job just yet.
Legendary actor Jack Nicholson has been a Lakers courtside fixture for many years. Given the sheer amount of time he’s spent watching his favorite team from the sidelines, we’re sure he’d make a decent celebrity coach. And when it comes to pumping up the team when they are in need of a boost, he’s got moves as well—like busting down the locker room door with an ax or screaming, "You can’t handle the truth!”
Christina Campodonico can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org