Tonight, at 10:30 ET, the Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California for the 82nd and final regular season game for both teams. Both teams have playoff berths clinched, but that won’t be on anyone’s mind. The Warriors, with a record of 72-9, are one win shy of breaking the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls record for most wins in an NBA season.
It’s a potentially historical night and a nearly impossible ticket to get. But for two lucky Fanatics employees, their tickets are already punched. A ticket to the Warriors’ final regular season home game was the prize for winning the Fanatics internal March Mania college basketball bracket challenge, and now it’s turned into the chance to witness history and the envy of any sports fan.
We sat down to talk to one of the winners:
I’m really excited! I’ve been rooting for this team the whole year. More than teams, I really love the sport and I love watching all the exciting things happening, watching records get broken, watching big upsets. Like some of the Warriors games that they lost this year were just the most bizarre to watch but also really exciting. But yeah, to be there for a game like this, that is pretty historic, and having watched as a kid when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were breaking that record, and Steve Kerr, I guess was on the team, it was really exciting, especially, because there’s no way I could have gone if I didn’t win [March Mania at Fanatics]. We couldn’t buy Warriors tickets. They’re so expensive. We used to buy Bulls tickets for like 35, 40 bucks at the most, and go and have pretty good seats in Chicago. And then coming out here and there is just no way we can go to any games, so it’s pretty exciting.
My favorite sport to watch has always been basketball. I also watch tennis, but really not much of anything else. As a kid we didn’t have any teams anywhere nearby – I grew up in New Mexico and the closest team was probably the Dallas Cowboys. I guess Phoenix might be a little closer than that, I’m not sure. But yeah, pretty much everybody was either a Broncos fan, a Cowboys fan, or something else, but I was never really into football. It was a big football town. It drove me crazy that everybody was so obsessed with it, so I was really interested in basketball more than anything else.
As a kid, I liked college basketball. I liked the Tar Heels, North Carolina, so I picked to win, which luckily somehow I won the bracket without picking the winner, but anyways. And it came down to the last second. That was really devastating. I thought I lost, for sure. But yeah, as a kid I liked the Tar Heels.
I liked reading the history of sports. I liked reading about players like Mickey Mantle and Jesse Owens. Actually he was one of my favorites. I used to write essays about him in school, all about his life. But really, I didn’t get to watch a lot of sports, never went to any big games. I do remember distinctively going to Dallas to watch Wayne Gretzky. It was his final year and my uncle got some tickets from his business partner, and invited us up to come and watch. It was really exciting. I had never seen hockey before, but I knew who Wayne Gretzky was because I had the video games. That was really exciting, a lot of fun to go to.
Most heartbreaking sports moment? Probably right now, when the Bulls aren’t even making the playoffs, is pretty heartbreaking. They’ve got so many great players and just on paper they’re the best they’ve been in a really long time. At the beginning of the year I was really excited, and then it just got worse and worse and worse. Derrick Rose came back and then periodically injured throughout the season. It’s the end of the year and they basically had to give up with two weeks left because they had no chance. It was pretty heartbreaking.