Commentary

What Hollywood is watching today

Celebrities talk about their rooting interests in Lakers-Cavs.

Updated: December 29, 2009, 1:20 PM ET
By Kelley L. Carter | Special to ESPN Los Angeles

Forget sitting around a fancy table dressed with four-star-looking food, drinks and folded napkins.

These celebrities will be spending Christmas afternoon balancing their plates -- and beers -- on their laps, crowded around somebody's big-screen TV, taking in the Lakers-Cavaliers matchup. We checked in with a few basketball-loving famous faces to see where they stand on Kobe versus LeBron and why this game reigns supreme.

Vivica A. Fox

Why LeBron rocks: "He's one of the most exciting players in the NBA. His agility and skill is so superb."

[+] EnlargeVivica Fox
Joe Corrigan/Getty Images Vivica Fox

Why Kobe rocks: "Kobe is the second coming of Michael Jordan to me. He's the closest I've ever seen to Michael Jordan, pretty much one of the best NBA players ever. Kobe's dedication, hustle, drive -- he's so exciting to watch. He can shoot a 3-pointer on you; he's excellent at the free throw line. And he's not hard on the eyes."

Reason to root for the Lakers: "I love L.A., baby. And I live in L.A. Go Lakers!"

Reason to root for the Cavaliers: "They've got LeBron and he's just King James and he's awesome to watch; he's very exciting and sooner or later, he's going to get his. ... Kobe and Shaq have had several rings. It's his time."

Christmas Day plan: "For me, it's must-see TV. The fact that you've got the reunion of Shaq and Kobe ... it's always thrilling to watch those two go at each other. And this year, the fact that they're adding LeBron James into the mix, it's must-see TV. ... I love how they've got the little muppets doing the little rap [in the commercial]. They've turned this into an event. I'm having dinner at my manager's house and watching the game there."

NBA Christmas wish: "I love the Lakers. I love seeing Kobe kind of redeeming himself through basketball and the fact that he's overcome such adversity with everything that happened in his life. It made him a better man and a better player. But ... I'm rooting for LeBron. ... I think it's time for LeBron to get his. It'll be nice to see that a former Laker like Shaquille O'Neal helped him to the promised land."

Hoops connection: Fox, who grew up in Indianapolis, helped her team win the 1982 girls' city basketball championship. She also played a pro baller in the 2002 flick "Juwanna Mann."

Hill Harper

Why LeBron rocks: "He is at the same time graceful and powerful. And you don't find that in many ways in any combination in any sport. So to see someone so big and strong and also be so graceful and agile and able to go left and right and do all the things that he does is truly, truly amazing."

[+] EnlargeHill Harper
Ethan Miller/Getty Images Hill Harper

Why Kobe rocks: "Kobe -- just his precision. He is so good, you know? That is what makes him so special. You can see the time that he has spent just becoming perfect. He's a perfectionist. I don't think we've ever seen anyone play basketball in such a perfect way."

Reason to root for the Lakers: "Kobe. I don't think there are any flaws in his game. That's through practice and training and hard work. It's wonderful to watch."

Reason to root for the Cavaliers: "I always like to root for the underdog, so that makes me a Cavs fan. The smaller-market team's got big hearts."

Christmas Day plan: "I'm planning on snowshoeing to a Christmas lunch. There's a restaurant out in the mountains that you have to snowshoe to get to. ... They may not even have a TV. It's in the mountains outside of Aspen. So I'll DVR it and get a chance to watch it at some point."

NBA Christmas wish: Harper wants to see the Cavs pull off the upset.

Hoops connection: Harper, who got his law degree from Harvard (he played football at Brown as an undergraduate), also is friends with the commander in chief. The two met on the basketball court the first week of law school, and before President Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party nomination, the two played a celebratory basketball game. Hill also starred in Spike Lee's 1998 film "He Got Game," where he got to play with Ray Allen.

Tyrese Gibson

Tyrese Gibson
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesTyrese Gibson

Why LeBron rocks: "I just think in general, basketball could be pretty boring if you don't have a certain amount of players that have certain flair to them when they play. You got some people that really exude that passion to show that they really, really love playing basketball. LeBron has that."

Why Kobe rocks: "He's one of those guys that we look at his game as a talent, but he's very educated. His IQ level when it comes to his knowledge of basketball and preparation ... he's a genius. We're focusing on the talent, but a lot of people don't know that he's very well-educated about basketball."

Christmas Day plan: "We're going to wake my daughter up at midnight. She's 2, so we're going to try to get her up at midnight to really spark that Christmas tradition to open the presents right when Christmas starts. Hopefully she'll go right back to sleep, because I'm trying to go to the game. I'm trying to make some calls right now to get me some tickets to get in that thing."

Reason to root for the Lakers: "The Lakers are gonna win the game. I just feel like the Lakers are the overall greatest team."

Reason to root for the Cavaliers: "The Cleveland Cavs are going to be rooted for because they've got fans; there actually are a lot of Cleveland Cav fans here in L.A." NBA Christmas wish: "Come on. Lakers, baby."

Connection to hoops: Gibson, who stars in the ubersuccessful "Transformers" franchise, also is a talented singer. He performed during a Lakers playoff game last season, upsetting some fans during Game 5 of the Western Conference finals because he altered the lyrics of the national anthem, replacing the line "our flag was still there" with "our Lakers were still there."

Omarion

[+] EnlargeOmarion
Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesOmarion

Why LeBron rocks: "LeBron is one of those guys that was bred for this game. People are excited to see his growth and the potential that he has for the game. He's ahead of the ball. He's extremely big and he's extremely dominant."

Why Kobe rocks: "He's one of those guys people love to hate. ... He's just that good. He's totally involved. I met Kobe once or twice, and from the looks of it, he is homing in on every bit of skill he has. He's done his research and he's the best player in the game, hands down."

Christmas Day plan: "I'm a super Laker fan. So I'm so bummed out when I called to get my tickets five or six months ago for this game, they said it was sold out. Since the season started, every ticket has been bought out. So I'll be at home in L.A., watching it with my family and my friends on the big screen."

Reason to root for the Lakers: "Not only because they have the best NBA player, but because they bring excitement. They bring a level of energy of being able to watch one of the greatest teams."

Reason to root for the Cavs: "Shaq is going to be in that game. It's going to be a good, exciting game. People always comparing Shaq and Kobe ... and now LeBron has Shaq."

NBA Christmas wish: "Oh, for the Lakers to win. I don't have to wish for that because they're going to win."

Hoops connection: Omarion -- who played point guard in a youth league before leading the R&B group B2K (he's now a solo artist and has a new album, "Ollusion," out in January) -- played in a celebrity basketball game hosted by James in September.

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