LeBron James called it "by far the best game I've ever been a part of." It's too bad lots of ticket-holding Heat fans weren't left to see the end. Gotta beat traffic, you know.
It's going to take a long time for Heat fans, who already have a reputation as some of the worst in sports, to live down Game 6. With 28 seconds left and San Antonio up four and heading to the line, we all thought the game was over. (Of course, you know how that went.) So fans started streaming for the exits.
The above photo, taken by Bomani Jones, was the first sign that the American Airlines Arena was clearing out. This Vine, from Rembert Browne, shows in scene at one of the portals:
And via Bob's Blitz, watch the crowd in the background as Ginobili takes his free throws:
But then a funny thing happened. The basketball gods granted us an all-time thriller. Ginobili missed a FT; LeBron hit a three. Kawhi Leonard missed a FT; Ray Allen hit a three. Tie game. Overtime. And somehow, those Heat fans heading for their cars caught wind. What followed was a desperate rush to get back into the arena, and to pretend they didn't suck.
WPLG's Victor Oquendo was there to make sure they didn't go unshamed:
Fans streaming out...I'm gonna throw up— Victor Oquendo (@VictorOquendo) June 19, 2013
Honestly embarrassing. I'm setting up for my live shot outside the arena, just watching fan after fan exit early.— Victor Oquendo (@VictorOquendo) June 19, 2013
Now I'm watching horrible, drunk, quitting fans desperately trying to get back in. This is madness.— Victor Oquendo (@VictorOquendo) June 19, 2013
None of them deserve to be let in. They are pounding the glass doors. I'm all for gender equality but I'm only seeing female guards....— Victor Oquendo (@VictorOquendo) June 19, 2013
@juanguibeme they're not. It's absurd. People screaming about how they paid good money. Really?!— Victor Oquendo (@VictorOquendo) June 19, 2013
Cops finally here. Fans still pounding on the doors begging to be let in.— Victor Oquendo (@VictorOquendo) June 19, 2013
@CarlosWPLG most pathetic display I've ever seen here.— Victor Oquendo (@VictorOquendo) June 19, 2013
I was born and raised in Miami. I used to hate the national perspective against Heat fans but I can't fight it anymore.— Victor Oquendo (@VictorOquendo) June 19, 2013
Here's WPLG's report:
The first 30 seconds of this AP video capture some of the scene outside the AAA, as fans leave dejectedly, then rush back when they learn the game is heading to overtime.
And here's a little first-person action to give you the sense of the type of people we're dealing with.
The reputation of Heat fans is a tricky thing. Sure, attendance surged when LeBron James suited up, but the same thing happened in Cleveland. But the stereotype—Los Angeles Southeast, basically—isn't grounded in nothing, and it's going to be especially hard to shake after this. Both local and national media are explicitly covering the story of fans leaving early. It's one of many stories to come out of Game 6, but it's the only one where it's not hyperbolic to talk about "legacies."