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“In the beginning, when I used to start hanging with him, he would always say, ‘Come over. Let yourself like the Lakers. It’s good for you,'” New York native Adam Sandler, who’s attended Lakers games with Nicholson, recalled on a 2018 episode of the Dan Patrick Show. “And I’d be like, ‘I can’t do it…I’m not allowed to do that.’ And he’d always be like, ‘I had that too and then I just let it go.'”

In January 2020, after Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash, Nicholson gave a rare interview in which he mourned the late athlete. 

“My reaction is the same as almost all of L.A,” he told CBS Los Angeles. “You just suddenly—where everything was solid, there’s a big hole in the wall. I was so used to seeing and talking to Kobe that, you know, I mean, it kills you. It’s just a terrible event.”