Inside student sections: The Show at San Diego State

You can thank SDSU for college basketball's big head cutouts. Kent C. Horner/Getty Images

Welcome to The Show -- San Diego State's show, that is.

It's the name of the Aztecs' raucous student section, a group steeped in college basketball history.

In 2001, a group of fans banded together to unleash hell -- as best as they could -- for the opposing team, during a basketball season when the Aztecs were winning after a few miserable seasons, and the team was finding its identity.

After winning in the regular season and then winning the Mountain West, the Aztecs went dancing, and their fans followed. According to The Show, it was the NCAA tournament in Chicago that really melded the fans into what we see today as The Show.

And now, they've established themselves as loud, proud and ready to go -- oh, and the inventors of the "faces" and "big heads" now seen country-wide in arena seats.

Fast Facts

  • The student section encompasses sections J, K, L and M at Viejas Arena (about 2,500 seats), behind one of th4e basktes toward the visiting side's bench.

  • Students get in free to all regular-season Aztec athletic events with their "Student RED" ID cards.

  • Students can get their tickets on mobile applications. They can also purchase one student guest ticket.

  • The Show has a yearly student T-shirt giveaway, helped in part by a sponsor.

The Show

  • The Show counts the 2001-02 season as its birth season, but 2002-03 as the "turning point."

  • The name came from a comment on an SDSU sports message board, which accused of the student section, "You guys think you're the whole show." Well, might as well run with it!

  • Uniforms are for the players, not the fans. The Show espouses individuality -- and every home game may as well be Halloween, with all the costumes.

  • The "Aztec Bombaye" chant began in football and was quickly embraced in basketball. It's based on the "Ali, boma ye [Ali, kill him!]" chants from when Mohammad Ali fought George Foreman in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1974.

  • The big heads were inspired by the movie BASEketball and the ESPN show PTI, which features blown-up athlete and celebrity faces in the background of the set.

  • Among the earliest "big heads": Michael Jackson (the very first), Gene Simmons (who had a realistic, waving tongue) and Siegfried & Roy.

  • Other notorious heads: Chris Farley, Conan O'Brien, Larry King, Chuck Norris, Richard Simmons and Emilio Estevez.

  • Poor Steve McClain. The Show cites the former Wyoming coach as perhaps its favorite target, often blowing up his face and affixing it to a cutout of a mouse or rat.

  • And poor Alex Kirk? The New Mexico player missed two free throws against the Aztecs back in 2014, which helped SDSU get into the tournament. The Show proudly points to the giant head as the reason why.

  • Also poor BYU? Some Cougar fans lodged a formal complaint to SDSU after members of The Show donned missionary outfits during a 2009-10 outing between the programs.