The scene was described to me by one arena worker as “crazy” and that hundreds of fans were pounding on the glass doors begging to be let back in. Police actually came over to stabilize the situation as some were getting quite upset, apparently.
One worker expressed actual worry and there was a little bit of fear because of the aggressiveness some were showing.
“They were saying, ‘I just left! I just left! Please!’” an arena worker said. “They’d run up there, then they’d run back here trying different doors to see if they could get in.”
Asked if there was any consideration to open the door, an arena official said that was firmly against policy — the doors are marked in big red letters “NO RE-ENTRY ALLOWED” — and said if the doors were opened, that could only make things worse.
In the end, the Heat survived, 103-100, to force a Game 7.
”I was kind of devastated to see so many people leaving,” one Heat fan said. “I said, ‘they will feel really, really bad when the Heat get back in this game and win.’ And they did.”
Heat fans don’t have the best reputation throughout the league. They’re notoriously late arriving and after checking out early in a Game 2 loss to the Pacers, they were ripped by an opposing announcer.
“These losers are leaving,” Pacers radio broadcaster Mark Boyle said. “They are flocking to the exits with their team down by three. This city does not only not deserve this team, they don’t deserve any team.”
In this case, they were down five in an elmination game of the NBA Finals. Even if the Heat didn’t magically come back, didn’t they at least deserve appreciation for the season they had?
“Even if they would’ve lost, we would’ve still been here,” the Heat fan said. “It’s not a thing a fan does if they are down by five or 10 or whatever and you leave.
“It’s the people that aren’t true fans, they’re not going to learn their lesson,” he said. “I think this was really sweet for those guys that left early.”