The average ticket price for Game 7 of the NBA Finals on June 19 went for $2153. But for sophomore business student Micah Poag, the game was completely free.
Poag didn’t get into Oracle Arena for the mammoth matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers via a ticket. With some Photoshop wizardry and even more audacity, Pong entered by flashing a fake press pass.
“I was pretty confident that the pass would fail if I showed it to someone who knew what they were doing,” Poag said. “But if I used a back entrance and showed it to someone not in charge of security, they wouldn’t recognize it and let me in.”
His stunt was far from a master plan. Poag began his journey on a whim, purchasing a surprisingly cheap plane ticket to San Francisco on Friday night for a Saturday flight. The game was on Sunday.
Poag entered the arena over five hours before tipoff, dressed in professional clothes to look like a member of the press and to avoid heightened scrutiny from security as the game got closer to tip off. He waited in a bathroom stall for nearly two hours until more fans arrived, ditching the press-box attire for a Stephen Curry jersey to blend in with the crowd.
As time crept toward the national anthem and lineup announcements, Poag ventured to an empty seat in the upper bowl of Oracle Arena.
“I poached some nosebleed seats,” Poag said. “Whenever I got kicked out there were no ushers in the upper sections, so I could chill on the stairs or a new seat.”
Aside from the momentous nature of Game 7, Poag said he wished to be in attendance to support the Warriors, his favorite NBA team.
“I really started following them during [the Warriors’] 24-0 run to start the season,” Poag said. “I really got into the season and once they had the chance to make history, I decided that I needed to participate.”
Golden State ultimately failed to make history, losing to the LeBron James and the Cavaliers 93-89. But despite the loss, Poag said he doesn’t regret the trip for a second.
“The trip was entirely worthwhile,” Poag said. “The fact that I went to that game is really a life-changing experience.”