The actor (Get Him to the Greek) actor and die-hard Lakers fan will play former A's assistant G.M. Paul DePodesta in the forthcoming Moneyball
Dan Patrick:You've shown up courtside at a few Lakers games. After what movie did you elevate to those seats?
Jonah Hill: I know a lot of people don't feel I deserve that, which is understandable, and I don't. They're not my seats. My agent, Ari, has those seats, so a few times a year he'll be nice enough to invite me. And it was definitely post-Superbad.
DP:Your agent is the basis for Ari from Entourage?
JH: Yeah, his name is Ari Emanuel. Those are the company's seats, so it's not like I go to every game. But to get to sit there is the ultimate dream. I grew up in L.A. as a lifelong Lakers fan and had terrible seats. If I'm not asked, I like to see who is there, because it's usually someone way more successful than me. It's a good gauge to know how successful you are.
DP:I heard you got a look from Phil Jackson for changing seats?
JH: No, I got full yelled at. It was not my fault. They were shooting Curb Your Enthusiasm. They said, "Hey, we've got to shoot this bit for the show where Larry is in the nosebleed section and he looks to see who is sitting in the good seats." We're in the two seats next to the bench, and they go, "Can you switch over two seats and then we can shoot the bit and you can go back to the seats next to the bench?" So they shoot the bit and leave in the middle of a play, which is bad etiquette. Phil noticed, and he was like, "Hey this isn't musical chairs. If you walk around again, I'm going to have you kicked out of here." It was the saddest moment of my life, because Phil is my hero. It's like your dad telling you you're not good enough.
DP:Academy Award or another championship for the Lakers?
JH: Championship for the Lakers.
JH: I'd do three more rings.
DP:Have the Lakers ever made you cry after a loss?
JH: I'd say tear up, [not] weep.
DP:Have you shot Moneyball yet?
JH: No, we're about to start. We're rehearsing now. I'm sure all of your fans want to kill me because I don't look like Paul DePodesta.
DP:What is the movie going to be about?
JH: I'm playing Paul, and yes, we don't look alike. It's going to be a great movie. Bennett Miller, who directed Capote, is directing it. Philip Seymour Hoffman is playing [former A's manager] Art [Howe]. Brad Pitt is playing [A's G.M.] Billy Beane, and I'm playing Paul. A lot of people can't wrap their heads around how they're going to make it into a movie, but it's really a cool story about people doing something that no one has ever done before.
DP:Give me the breakdown on the NBA Finals, because I know that's what you're dying to do. Tell me what concerns you.
JH: Listen, I'm not concerned. I think the Celtics are a good team, I respect them, but they're going to get their balls smashed in, and it's just a fact. What do you think?
DP:I don't know if I'd use that vernacular... . Will you be courtside for any of the games?
JH: I imagine not. If Get Him to the Greek does well, I might be. If not, you will never see me courtside again.
• Nat King
Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn (above) can handle himself against any pitcher: He has hit 326 career home runs. But when I asked him if he'd like to step into the batter's box and take his chances against his heralded rookie teammate, Stephen Strasburg, he told me, "Absolutely not. I'd rather see a whole lot of other people than him. He's good. He's really good. I'm through with challenging myself. I want [hitting] to be as easy as possible."
• Good Guys
When SI picks its Sportsman of the Year, Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce (page 44) should be in the mix. Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons agreed that the fallout from the imperfect game touched him. "It made me feel really good," he told me. "We live in such an uncivil world. People screaming at each other, umpires throwing players out just to prove they can. And then you've got Joyce saying, 'I blew the call.' And he was clearly terribly upset about it. Galarraga is my favorite player of the year."
• Line of the week
NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen explained how QB Ben Roethlisberger (above), who is suspended for the first six games of the season, can repair his image: "Start winning games. Unfortunately for him, he may not be able to do that until Week 7."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Charles Barkley discusses the NBA free-agent class.
2. SI Swimsuit cover model Brooklyn Decker visits the set.
THE FINE PRINT: The World Cup begins on June 11. Of course, millions of Americans think FIFA is the payroll tax for social security.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
ED WOLFSTEIN/ICON SMI (DUNN)
DAVID BERGMAN (ROETHLISBERGER)
MICHAEL DWYER/AP (HILL)