Ray Allen hit a ridiculously clutch three-pointer with five seconds left in the fourth quarter of last night’s Game Six of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, tying the game and sending it to overtime, where the Heat eventually prevailed and forced Game Seven.
When the ball drained through the hoop and the players on the Heat bench started hopping around like bunnies, fewer people were in the arena to see it than were present for some of Allen’s less historic shots earlier in the game. That’s because many people — perhaps as many as 2,000 — left the game early, assuming the Heat would be unable to complete the comeback and the Spurs would hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy on Miami’s home court.
Word quickly spread to those who had departed early that the game was heading to overtime, and many of those who checked out prematurely tried to get back inside the venue.
Here’s a first-person account of how that went down (hint: not so well):
According to reports, no one who left the arena before the end of the game made it back inside. And, frankly, that’s exactly what they deserved. One of the golden rules of sports is you never leave until the game is over. Even with your team down 20 points late in a regular season game, you never leave until the final whistle. Beating traffic isn’t worth the risk of missing the chance to witness a historic comeback.
When the game is Game Six of the freaking NBA Finals, the notion that you’d slink away before it was all said and done is almost offensive to any real sports fan.
The reason fans weren’t allowed back inside is because that’s standard stadium policy across all North American sports. It’s more fun to think they were being punished by the sports gods, though.