Long before this year's birth of the Crazy Fans Section, Alan Horwitz was a lone-wolf Sixers fanatic — sitting, standing, kneeling, jumping, fist-bumping at the end of the 76ers bench, exchanging death stares with Kobe Bryant, hovering physically closer to Coach Doug Collins than some of the reserves.
"I'm in the huddles, hearing what the next play is — it's like a dream come true," said Horwitz, chairman of Campus Apartments, which develops student housing in 26 states. "I grew up sitting in the Convention Hall rafters, watching Wilt Chamberlain, and now I'm so close, it's like I'm the sixth man on the team."
Last weekend through some bizarre StubHub quirk of fate, Horwitz, wearing his "SIXTH MAN" Sixers jersey, found himself sitting next to the Celtics bench for Game 1 in Boston. Uh oh.
"Right from the start, the Sixers are kicking ass and it's so quiet that you can hear me screaming all over the arena," Horwitz said. "I'm surrounded by Celtics fans who paid a zillion dollars for their seats. They are not happy with me."
Suddenly, a ball went out of bounds and the Celtic who chased it fell into Horwitz's lap and lingered there. "I'm trying to get him off me," Horwitz said. "I hear laughter. I'm a 68-year-old man. I'm going to start messing with a guy who's 6-foot-10, 280 pounds?"
But apparently the Celtics' emotional point guard, Rajon Rondo, thought so. "As the Celtics are coming in from a timeout, Rondo walks over and bumps me with his shoulder," Horwitz said. "I bump him back, curse him and tell him, 'You're acting like a punk!'?"
Security guards warned Horwitz that one more incident would get him ejected. Later in the first quarter, as Horwitz shouted, "Way to go, Iggie!" after an Igoudala basket, a Celtic brushed by him. "Grazed my shirt," Horwitz said. Cops ejected Horwitz.
Sixers CEO Adam Aron met him at the top of the stairs, huddled with the cops and brought the Sixth Man into his box, where Horwitz also watched Game 2.
Horwitz, who said he's the same fan-in-motion he's been for 35 years, said his trademark courtside kneeling is just one of his many instinctive moves when he's swept away by the emotional tides of a game.
He's developed personal relationships with the Sixers. "We've had Evan Turner over for dinner and I'm also friends with Andre (Iguodala), Elton Brand, Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams," he said, "so when you see me going crazy at a game, it's because I'm so into it for all my buddies. Just talking about it, I'm clenching my fist."