One of the NBA's biggest celebrity fans is none other than Rihanna. The RnB star and fashion icon is a massive basketball fan and has often been spotted sitting courtside at games to cheer on some of her favorite teams.
Rihanna even posted a video of her celebrating LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers' 2020 NBA Championship last year. She is a huge fan of the Lakers, and LeBron and has often gone to see him play.
Rihanna is one of the most beloved figures worldwide, and her every move gets headline attention from the press. So her coming to NBA games is a good thing for the league, as it brings more eyeballs to the game.
Oftentimes, Rihanna comes to NBA games and steals the show, in spite of some incredible basketball taking place on the court. Rihanna is one of the most fashionable figures in the world, so it comes as no surprise that people turn their focus away from the game and to the multiple-time Grammy winner.
Rihanna has been in the public eye for quite some time and has been present at several NBA games and events. Her presence is usually a highlight for many fans, and RiRi also dons some of her best looks to these games, as you can see below.
Rihanna being in attendance for a game is newsworthy, not just for the fans, but for the players themselves. A lot of these players run in the same celebrity circles as Rihanna, so they want to do their best to impress her.
But as it turns out, Rihanna's presence might have an effect on how players play. An older graphic points out that teams actually do better when Rihanna is present for their games, winning 67% of their home games with her, and 61% of them without her.
On top of that players like Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard perform better, with KD's scoring and Howard's free-throw shooting showing massive improvements when Rihanna is courtside.
But that improvement effect isn't there for everyone. Dwyane Wade usually shot worse from the field when Rihanna was at the games, compared to when she wasn't at the games.
NBA fans had a field day with this graphic online, as it just resurfaced recently. Check out some of the best comments from the Instagram page Buckets that posted this graphic recently, with some even pointing out the absurdity of ESPN posting this.
Of course, there is no actual way to prove whether it was Rihanna's presence that affected these players, or if it was just a coincidence. But there have been occasions of Rihanna motivating players. Most notably, during Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals, when she trash-talked Kevin Durant, and he went on to have a great game.
But it seems their animosity was only for the game, as Durant and Rihanna had a short but fun interaction with each other last year on Instagram live. Both Rihanna and KD seemed to be cordial with each other and checked on each other.
With Durant now playing in Brooklyn, and Rihanna living in New York, it is possible that we see her at these games a lot more, cheering on KD. But perhaps the Lakers fan in her won't allow that.