One of Memphis' first season-ticket holders, this fan has the best seat in sports
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Sept. 30 Franchise Issue. Subscribe today!
SHE'S NOT THERE to chitchat. Donna Sue Shannon is focused on her guys. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley -- these are her Grizzlies. "We're right in the middle of the action," Shannon says of her Section 102, Row H, Seat 1 viewing throne. "I watch my guys, and I can tell when they're tense or if they're ready. I can feel them."
Such are the perks of owning our 2013 pick for the best seat in sports, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's the view, for one. Shannon is situated about 20 feet to the left of the Memphis bench. And because her first-row seat is slightly elevated, she's able to see every inch of the hardwood unobstructed. So when the Western Conference finals roll around to FedExForum, as they did in last season's 4-0 heartbreaker to the Spurs, she won't miss a single Randolph board.
Or a single one of his famous headbands. Section 102 is positioned above the Grizzlies' tunnel, which means her guys pass by Shannon every time they enter or leave the floor. She's become such a fixture that players have taken to throwing their game-worn items to the 74-year-old superfan. Jerseys, towels -- Shane Battier once even threw her his shoe. It's the Forum's very own foul ball section.
When it comes to value, her $58 seat can't be beat. A season-ticket holder since the team's move to Memphis in 2001 (she was one of the first 50 people to put down a deposit after seats were made available), Shannon is reaping the rewards of early adoption. "People pay double, four times what I do," she says. "I wouldn't trade my seat for any of theirs. I've got the view. I've got the interaction."
That and a drawerful of Z-Bo headbands.
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