Jack Nicholson‘s role as one of the bad boys of Hollywood has been a portrayal he has cannily delivered for decades. And on the set of Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, he was no different.
From leaving the set of Chinatown in a naked rage to taking copious amounts of drugs with other Hollywood heavyweights such as the late Dennis Hopper, Nicholson is of a dying breed and has had a storied career to show for it.
One of the most well-known aspects of his character is that he is a great fan of basketball. Nicholson has been an avid follower of the Los Angeles Lakers for decades, with it reported that he has been a season ticket holder since 1970, possessing courtside tickets for nearly 30 years. In fact, the nude rage he left the set of Chinatown in was fuelled by the fury of director Roman Polanski over him watching his beloved team in his trailer.
On the set of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 crime thriller The Departed, everyone was made fully aware of the extent of Nicholson’s love for the Lakers. Notably, the film was set and shot in Boston, the home of the Lakers’ fierce rivals, The Celtics. Acutely aware that he was behind enemy lines, Nicholson did not want to be reminded of the basketball team who call Boston home.
Back in 2008, Radar reported that Nicholson was alleged to have banned any Celtics merchandise from the set of The Departed. Most intriguing of all was that if any Celtics imagery made its way into his orbit, the entire crew would feel his wrath. “If he caught anyone wearing a Celtics T-shirt, he’d literally shut down the set,” an anonymous source told the publication. “It was no joke.”
No one should have been too surprised at Nicholson’s actions in Boston. His dedication to the Los Angeles Lakers is so unrelenting that in 2003 it was widely reported that he was almost evicted from their playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs for stepping onto the court and shouting at the referee during a break.
The incident was engendered by Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal being pulled up for his third foul in the second quarter. “I pay a lot of money for this seat,” Nicholson protested. “This is the NBA, you can’t tell me to sit down.” The next day, O’Neal came out in support of his famous fan, saying: “I’m glad somebody sticks up for me – I appreciate it, Jack.”
Watch The Departed on Netflix now.