Getting tickets to see Michael Jordan play, especially near the end of his career, was a task.
One comedian and his dad, however, came up with the perfect scam to solve that problem — and gain up close and personal access to Jordan and the rest of the NBA at their will.
Gary Vider, after the premier of Episode 5 and Episode 6 of “The Last Dance,” explained in an Instagram post on Monday how he and his dad would frequently sneak in to Madison Square Garden in the 1990s — and how they almost got caught when they ran the play for Jordan’s first game back after his brief baseball stint, a night when he dropped 55 points.
“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,” Vider wrote. “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.
“One of the closest calls we ever had was Michael Jordan’s first game back at MSG after he took a year and 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 10 year old this 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.”
Sure, sneaking your kid into an NBA game like that is extremely risky, irresponsible and can land you both into a lot of real trouble.
It’s also extremely impressive. The fact that they were able to pull off that scam for so long — which wouldn’t even come close to working today — around players like Jordan is a truly spectacular feat.
“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.” (AP/Beth A. Keiser)
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