The story of NBA Finals Warriors fan Herman Mann

The story of NBA Finals Warriors fan Herman Mann
June 22, 2013, 9:45 am
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For Game 7, I'm just gonna do it differently. I'm not going to dress the same as everybody else. I'm gonna wear my Warriors jersey, represent my home team, and see what happens.
Warriors fan Herman Mann

A day after the 2013 NBA Finals concluded in a thrilling Game 7, Warriors fan Herman Mann -- the mystery man in blue who stood out among the American Airlines Arena masses -- didn't have a moment of free time.

"I haven't been able to do anything all day," Mann told CSNBayArea.com on Friday. "My phone has been blowing up."

Mann was wearing Stephen Curry's bright blue Warriors jersey in the crowd, and he became a minor Twitter sensation when he was spotted amid a sea of white wildly rooting for the Miami Heat while heckling Gregg Popovich and the Spurs throughout most of the Heat's 95-88 win.

[RELATED: Who was that Warriors fan at Game 7?]

Mann, a 27-year-old real estate investor from Fremont, calls himself an elite NBA fan -- a Warriors fan first and foremost, but one with a greater appreciation for the sport at large.

"The Warriors are my No. 1 team," he explained. "They're your home team, that's who you root for. But we haven't been making the playoffs that much, so you have to have other teams to root for when you love the sport of basketball."

After friends dissuaded him not to fly out to Miami for Games 3, 4 and 5 last year -- which the Heat swept to claim the title -- Mann made himself a vow.

"I was not going to miss LeBron James winning a championship again."

[NEWS: Miami takes NBA title behind big game from James]

A devout James supporter, Mann blended in during Games 1, 2 and 6 by wearing his No. 6 Heat gear. But for the game's biggest stage, he needed to stay true to himself.

"For Game 7," Mann thought, "You know what? I'm just gonna do it differently. I'm not going to dress the same as everybody else. I'm gonna wear my Warriors jersey, represent my home team, and see what happens."

What happened was far more than Mann expected. He stood out like a blue beacon amid Miami's "white-out," and was quickly immortalized in tweets, .GIFs and bar conversations nationwide, in part for yelling at Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich before the game even started.


"Popovich, put T-Mac in!" he screamed more than once.

Mann, who insists he actually loves Popovich, said he took more pleasure in heckling the Spurs players -- specifically Manu Ginobili and Danny Green.

Regardless of his court-directed bluster, you can't knock Mann's dedication. He plans to stay in town through Monday's ticker tape parade, which will push his total time spent alone in Miami to more than two weeks.

For such a devout NBA fan, missing more than half of the third quarter and the final four minutes of Game 7 was torture. But that's what happened to Mann when he was twice was removed from the stadium by arena security, leading the frequent Oracle Arena visitor with one lasting impression.

"These (Miami) fans," Mann said, "are pansies."

Mann said he intended to exchange his printer-paper tickets for hard-copy ticket souvenirs, and just when the woman who sold him the tickets went to make the exchange at halftime, an usher approached Mann, telling him fans nearby had complained that he was too loud and standing up too much.

Mann's reaction: "Nonsense, this is Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Are you kidding me?"

Without a ticket in hand, the ushers saw fit to remove Mann from the game, despite his pleas that he was the rightful seat owner with hard copy tickets returning.

"They simply weren't listening to me," Mann said, "So they kicked me out. Now I'm outside the arena telling them, 'This is bulls---. You're going to feel like an idiot when I do show you my ticket.'"

While Mann was steaming outside -- about the same time James found Dwyane Wade for a fast-break dunk and a Miami lead inside the building -- the ushers retrieved the proper ticket. They returned to grant Mann re-entry to the arena, albeit with a warning.

It was nothing new for the vociferous Mann, who received a warning from the Pepsi Center staff, too. You might remember him from Game 2 of the Warriors-Nuggets series, wearing all Green and Gold A's gear directly behind the Golden State bench.

"If you're going to complain about someone standing up at Game 7," Mann said, "you should just stay home.

"I pay good money for tickets to the NBA Finals Game 7 and I just missed half the third quarter because you're complaining that someone is standing up? That's BS."

Once back in his seats, Mann admittedly took things to the next level by launching a number of verbal barbs toward the "snitches" sitting around him. He lasted all the way until the Tim Duncan's three-point play made it a one-possession game with just over three minutes to play.

Once again, a security guard arrived from the court and asked him to stand up and walk to the aisle.

Recalled Mann: "This guys is really not going to kick me out with four freaking minutes left, is he? And that's what he ended up doing."

Mann was told a high-ranking Heat employee sitting in his section asked to have him removed for strong language, and missed the Heat win their second consecutive championship.

Still, thanks to tweets from Warriors players Stephen Curry and Festus Ezeli -- and a nation put on notice that Warriors fans are as serious about hoops as they come -- Mann's big trip East has been a success. The contrarily-clothed fan isn't quite sure when he'll strike again ... but he's got an idea.

"Next on the plate?" Mann wondered aloud. "Maybe when the A's make the playoffs this year."

 

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