The fifth episode of The Last Dance shows how difficult it was to get into the arena to see the Bulls. We’ve seen the ticket requests for Chicago Bulls’ 1997-98 season gone trough the roof. All of the season tickets were sold in a matter of hours. People were uncertain about it being Jordan’s final year in the United Center, following the speculation about it being the last season of Bulls’ dynasty, so they wanted to witness greatness for one last time. Players demanding tickets didn’t help the Bulls organization, so Bulls’ director of ticketing Joe O’Neil had to limit the number of tickets given to players. That led to players asking MJ to acquire the tickets, and Jordan famously giving one to Bulls’ guard Randy Brown, saying he just received the ticket from God.
However, one comedian and his dad came up with a scam to solve that problem. After the premiere of Episodes five and six of “The Last Dance” documentary, Gary Vider took on Instagram and told the story about him and his dad frequently sneaking into Madison Square Garden in the 90s to see the Jordan and other NBA superstars up close and personal. The two pulled a movie-like scam, pretending to be media persons and getting exclusive locker room access.
“From 1993-1997, my father and I ran a scam saying I was a reporter for Sports Illustrated for Kids, and he was a photographer. My dad would smooth talk our way into games at Madison Square Garden without a ticket and get us access into the locker rooms. When we would get into the locker room, I would (fake) interview the players, take pictures, and get autographs.”Gary Vider, via IG
Vider also shared the story about them almost getting caught after Jordan’s comeback game at the Garden following his first retirement. The problem occurred when real reporter and photographer for Sports Illustrated for Kids emerged.
“One of the closest calls we ever had was Michael Jordan’s first game back at MSG after he took a year and a half off to play baseball. We’d been to the Garden countless times before, but this time an actual reporter and photographer for Sports Illustrated for Kids showed up. My dad made it a point for us to say hi to them, never telling them who we were. I remember thinking as a ten-year-old this is it we are going to jail. After watching MJ score 55 points, my dad and I rushed to the locker room. Security was limiting how many people could get through, even press. We wound up getting in, and the real Sports Illustrated for Kids didn’t.”Gary Vider, via IG
A 10-year-old and his dad sneaking into NBA arenas sound like a hazardous venture. The fact that these guys were able to pull off the same scam for so long is none other than impressive. It gave them memories that were worth the risk.