OAKLAND – Nothing like a NBA Finals to attract Hollywood stars courtside, including actors ready to promote a movie. Two rows deep, Jeremy Renner and Jon Hamm had more on their minds than their upcoming comedy, “Tag.”
For Hamm, he marveled at this championship matchup pitting the Cleveland Cavaliers and his gracious host Thursday night, the Warriors.
“I’m pulling for the Warriors because I just love how they play,” Hamm said. “But, my God, LeBron is going absolutely bonkers in this playoffs. It seems super human.”
For Renner, being on the Warriors court meant a lot to the Modesto native who’s no stranger to the Bay Area sports scene. The two-time Academy Award nominee is a re-devoted 49ers fan, having been inspired like so many others by last season’s 5-0 finish with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Asked amid the pregame noise if he’s met Garoppolo — who’s trained in Los Angeles in past offseasons — Renner replied: “Rob Lowe?”
Uh, no, although Lowe did attend Thursday’s Game 1, also.
“Oh, Jimmy G, I haven’t met him yet. I can’t wait,” Renner said. “Finally we got someone. Finally!”
Renner, 47, drew Academy nominations for “The Hurt Locker” (best actor) and “The Town” (best supporting actor); he also portrayed a Mercury News investigative reporter (Gary Webb) in the 2014 film “Kill the Messenger.”
Hamm, an Emmy Award winner from his “Mad Men” days as Don Draper, grew up in St. Louis and watched two NFL franchises move from there; the Cardinals, when he was 18, and, the Rams, in 2016.
“Basketball-wise, I didn’t really have a team growing up, but I was a fan of the Magic-Bird era, and M.J., and those rivalries with the Pistons,” Hamm added. “I haven’t had a team to root for in a while.”
The Warriors were that team Thursday night, at least. (“Tag” hits theaters June 15.)
THE REVERAND SPEAKS: Count Rev. Jesse Jackson among those expecting the Warriors to repeat as NBA champs, “if they can bring all of it,” Jackson said, “But they can’t miss a beat.”
As Jackson roamed courtside before tipoff, he noted the Cavs may have a psychological edge because critics have put them so low, “as if they’re lucky to be here.” Jackson called LeBron James “a hero on and off the court” for his “civic contributions.”
Jackson, a civil-rights activist, not surprisingly weighed in with strong opinions on the NFL’s recent policy mandating players either stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room, and he alluded to how President Trump may have impacted that.
“The fact (President) Trump called players ‘sons of bitches,’ that’s insulting and not right,” Jackson, 76, said. “First of all, the (NFL anthem policy) violates the First Ammendment, it violates the union, and it violates a sense of manhood.”
FASHION STATEMENT: LeBron James’ made quite the entrance into Oracle Arena, wearing a fashionable suit on his upper torso and above, wait, shorts? Asked to critique James’ wardrobe, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue laughed and replied: “No comment.”
STAR SEARCH: Other notables slated to attend were Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Apple CEO Tim Cook, rapper Tyler The Creator and life coach Tony Robbins, who sat next to Warriors co-owner Peter Guber.
WHO NEEDS TICKETS: An hour before tipoff, Oracle Arena’s box office still had tickets available, from $450 to $3,000. At that point, Sunday ‘s Game 2 ws a hotter ticket, with only a handful of seats left from $450 to $650.
GET YOUR PROGRAM: As Kenny Keltz hawked NBA Finals programs on the east concourse for a fourth straight year, he noted how the cost has remained $10 each year. And in a sales pitch, he said this year’s is the best with historical perspective.
Keltz started working games in 1990 with the San Antionio Missions of Double-A baseball, and he’s worked three of the San Francisco Giants’ recent World Series appearances. So, in this online-dominant age, what is he selling more, programs or $7.50 pins? “Books, of course!” Keltz said.
PRICE CHECK: Concession prices weren’t outrageous, although $7 for a bottle of water still seems silly. Also on the menu: $15 draft beer, $11 chicken tenders and fries, $9.75 pizza. Oh, and rather than stand in long lines for the east-side team stores, head down the concourse for the pop-up stores selling NBA Finals T-shirts for $35 to $25.