(Q) How do the Lakers decide which stars get the best seats at the Staples Center?
(A) Scrambling to be seen courtside is one of the most cutthroat Hollywood games. Regulars like Dyan Cannon, Jack Nicholson and Denzel Washington have season tickets and need no outside help. Record labels, talent agencies and movie studios also have a number of floor seats and usually parcel them out to valued employees and clients. "If you're popular and you have a hit movie, you get a floor seat easily," says Chris Tucker, who finagled a courtside seat for Game 2 of the Finals "But if you ain't hot, you're going to be all the way at the top."
Everybody else resorts to trying to use clout with the Lakers' front office. "There are no automatic tickets," says Tim Harris, the team's vice president of sales and marketing. "We want to take care of the bigger celebs, but there comes a point when we're completely sold out." Still, Harris admits he has some discretion. " Ed Norton is easy to deal with," says Harris. "You hear directly from him, not his publicist, and he'll take any seat. Richard Dreyfuss always sends a handwritten note of thanks." Often, just getting into a game isn't good enough; image-conscious celebs will reject seats too far from the action. "They're like starving men begging for food," says Harris. "But when you give them a piece of bread, they ask, Is it bruschetta?"