HOUSTON - by Andrew Horansky/KHOU 11 News & www.khou.com
Saturday night took “NBA Jam” to a whole new level. In many ways it was fueled by social media.
The Galleria became so crowded, that the fire marshal closed down the mall early.
Greg Noble, the general manager of The Galleria said in a statement Saturday evening that as of 8:15 p.m. the mall had reached legal capacity and officially closed.
"As always, our primary concern is for the safety and well being of our shoppers and mall employees. Following discussions with HPD, mall entrances have been closed by the police and mall security," Noble said in an email.
Mall visitors say they were there because of pictures they received on Instagram and Twitter of celebrities who were supposedly inside.
Alexis Doaks said it was all about hype. She said she wanted to see Kobe Bryant. She never did.
“It’s a disappointment,” Doaks said.
Others said they were there to see Neo, Kyrie Irving and Sean “Diddy” Combs’ son, Justin Combs.
The Houston Police Department sent Special Response Teams to the mall to help clear out the crowds. Escalators were shut down to force people out. The incredible police presence included a mounted unit used to control riots.
HPD also blocked off Westheimer between Post Oak and McCue, to help control The Galleria crowd.
Despite the crowds, visitors behaved; however, traffic outside was a mess.
At least one person was grateful.
“I think they did a good job at closing it early so like the traffic could die down so people could leave,” said visitor Bri’Asia Simone.
Noble said that the mall would re-open at 11 a.m. on Sunday.