Seeing as how the lines have been completely blurred between entertainment and sports in the past few years — Leinart and Hilton! Tony and Eva! Jessica and Tony! The last new editor we hired was from CONCEPT Magazine! — we're trying out a new feature in these parts. Called "The Sporting Equivalency," it takes a member of popular culture and links him/her to an equivalent athlete in the four major sports. Equivalent how? That's for us to decide. We did Seth Rogen last week on his birthday; today "The Granddady of Them All" Jack Nicholson (sorry, Mr. Musburger!) turns 71, so it's his turn. This should be fun.
Jack Nicholson's NBA Equivalent: Kobe Bryant
The more logical comparison is Wilt, but we decided to stick with current players. First criteria when equating Jack to a NBA baller: it has to be a Laker. Nicholson's as big as it gets. Three Academy Awards? (12 nominations!) 7 Golden Globes? Kennedy Center Honor? One Flew Over and Terms of Endearment? The dude can literally NOT be stopped (ignore The Bucket List; we tend to view that as a favor to Rob Reiner). Kobe? Equally unstoppable. When he wants something — 81 points , a ridiculous dunk in the middle of a game , the hot new viral video — he takes it. That's Jack.
Jack Nicholson's MLB Equivalent: Derek Jeter
True story: last weekend we're having drinks with a female friend, and Jeter comes up. She giggles. We say, "At this point, we're surprised you haven't dated Derek Jeter." 'Tis true. Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Lara Dutta, Mariah Carey … Now Jack. Key difference? He's been married once. No matter. Michelle Phillips, Bebe Buell, Lara Flynn Boyle, Anjelica Huston, and probably a ton more we don't know about because gossip rags weren't as developed. Finally on the Jeets-Jack comparison, if you don't think Huston is a dime now, between 1973 and 1989 (when they were linked), she basically was Jessica Alba.
Jack Nicholson's NFL Equivalent: JaMarcus Russell
This one might inspire a little debate. Logic says someone like "Brady," but bear with us here. Nicholson started his career as a go-fer for Hanna-Barbera studios; he appeared in his first movie in 1958 (The Cry Baby Killer), but by 1966, he was appearing in bit parts in The Andy Griffith Show because his career was stalled. His first big movie wasn't until 1969's Easy Rider, and his first Oscar wasn't until Cuckoo's Nest in 1975. Point being: it took our man a while to get up the ladder. Now, take a look at JaMarcus. Guy can throw the ball 70 yards on a rope. He's got the looks and swagger to lead the Raiders back to the glory days. In the meantime, the team is a complete disaster. They're signing Tommy Kelly to big money , and Al Davis wants McFadden even though he's set at RB . Lane Kiffin may be forced out! It's gonna be a slow road for JaMarcus, but when he blows up, he'll blow up big — like presenting the Best Picture Oscar 7 times in a career big! OK, no. He might present a few ESPYs, though.
Jack Nicholson's NHL Equivalent: Alexei Kovalev
Seriously, did you expect us to go Crosby? Too young. Kovalev has been in the league 14 years, he racked up 84 points this year to lead the No. 1 Canadiens, and he's devilishly handsome (just saying). The key point here is: you think Jack has paid for a dinner in LA in the past two decades? No chance. Being "big time" is all about being big in something that matters to your location (would you want to be the best banker in Preston, ID?) Kovalev is the driving force behind the most hockey-mad city in the world trying to get their first Cup in 15 years. He could legitimately run over several puppies in a row and the Quebecois would turn the other cheek. Nicholson? Same deal. He bashed a guy's hood with a golf club once , and 2.5 years later, he's accepting an Oscar for As Good As It Gets.
And yea, if we're bringing golf into this, of course it's not Tiger; it's Jack Nicklaus. Their names are similar, and that's cool!