Walking into Game Five of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., Max Collins was in pure awe of the spectacle he saw: a sea of blue and gold clad fans, a brand new stadium and banners with his favorite player, Stephen Curry. The yellow seats surrounding the all-important court. The players are shooting around, and getting pumped for the big game starting in less than a half hour.
Max is traveling with H&R Block to see these games because his mom is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of the company. H&R Block sponsors the NBA, and all of the local sports teams here in Kansas City.
Game Five ended with a score of 104-91 in the Warriors favor. With this win, Golden State had a 3-2 series lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors now only had to win one more game to lift NBA title.
“I really liked Oracle Arena, which is where the Golden State Warriors play,” Max said. “It was amazing to watch the Warriors play in person.”
Max Collins has traveled all over the place to see a ton of different sports. In addition to Oakland, Max has also been to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago to see basketball, baseball and soccer.
Kathy Collins has only been the CMO of H&R Block for three years but has been a head-honcho most of her career. She worked at Lee Jeans as Vice President of Marketing before making the switch to H&R Block, and before that worked at a software company in cahoots with Bill Gates. She has even been awarded the title of one of the “Most Powerful Women Nextgen Leaders” by Fortune Magazine.
“At H&R Block, I began as Vice President of Marketing,” Kathy said, “That position includes advertising, public relations, sports marketing, sponsorships and social media,”
Although Max has been to a lot of cities in the last few years, Kathy greatly outnumbers him. She has been to Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, San Diego, Green Bay, Chicago, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Miami and Cleveland. She has traveled to all of those places in a span of 15 years.
The first big title game that Max went to was the Major League Soccer Cup Final between Sporting Kansas City0 and Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park in 2013.
“The atmosphere was insane, going to games now it seems like nobody cares compared to how excited the fans were then,“ Max said. “It is also the same with the Royals and the atmosphere in October during the World Series.”
Since then, Max went to all but one of the World Series games last October, even travelling to San Francisco to see two of the games between the Giants and the Royals.
“It was so different from Kansas City mainly because when the Royals won, the Giants fans got pretty mean and scary and that would never happen with Kansas City fans,” Max said. “I have to admit I was a little scared on the walk back to the car in San Francisco.”
Max is typically bringing friends to games that are in town, including sophomore Ben Dollar. Dollar has been to most of the local venues with Max, including Kauffman Stadium, Sporting Park and the Sprint Center.
“Max and I have been out to the K to see the Royals multiple times,” Dollar said. “We have also been out to Sporting Park to see a few matches. We even saw the Zac Brown Band concert there.”
The main reason that Max enjoys going to NBA games is because Kansas City doesn’t have a NBA team. However, Max believes that a Kansas City NBA team could be successful if they came to town.
“We have such great fans and it would be cool to have an NBA team,” Max said. “Plus we have a place for them to play. The Sprint Center would be a great place for an NBA team.”
Max has also been to Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks and the Barclay’s Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets. All of these as part of all of the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities in New York City and the surrounding areas.
As far as the future goes, both Max and Kathy expect to go see a lot of the MLB postseason this year and aim to attend some NBA games in the upcoming season. While they have plans in the near-future, they each want to go see something else. For Kathy, she really wants to attend the tennis U.S. Open.
“I think it would be really cool to see a professional tennis match in person,” Kathy said, “That’s why I would love to go to the U.S. Open,”
As for Max, he aspires to see the other U.S. Open: golf.
“One of the only sports that I haven’t seen in person is golf,” Collins said, “I think that it would be really fun to watch the pros play in real-time.”
Max hopes to keep traveling around seeing lots of games all over the country and to go to more Warriors games in the distant future. He really enjoys each trip for all of the differences they have.
“It never gets old going to these games,” Max said,” It probably will never get old because there are always different things to do in each city.”