As the self appointed Warriors fanatic in the office, it is only proper that my next blog post revolves around my favorite sports team- The Golden State Warriors. While everyone is aware of the Warriors due to their recent success, this love affair goes as far back as I can remember, to the painful 20 win seasons and accompanying playoff drought. Back to the days when the fans cheered almost as loud for the Warriors to reach 100 points in a game, as they would for a Warriors victory. A 100 point game meant all fans in attendance would win a free churro or taco from Jack in the Box- a minor consolation price despite losing.
Long gone are the days where Jack in the Box can sponsor surpassing 100 points a game, as this has come to be a nightly expectation of the high powered, fast paced offense that has become the Warriors identity. While this brand of basketball has propelled them into the national spotlight, the Warriors have been a corner stone of the passionate Bay Area fan base for as long as I have been born. We haven’t always been the best team, believe me when I say that, but our fans have remained steadfast in their devotion to this team. With players like Jason Richardson, Antawn Jamison, Stephen Jackson, Baron Davis, and Monte Ellis bringing excitement in my lifetime throughout some disappointing regular season records.
This is why I can brush off the comments that all Warriors fans are bandwagon fans only watching do to our recent accent to the top of the basketball world. I have been part of a fan base who has endured the worst, and are absolutely living in the moment with the level of basketball we are fortunate enough to witness now. With success in any sport, in any city, come bandwagon fans. People are drawn to the Warriors because of not only their success, but also their style of play along with the way they conduct themselves. Quite honestly if you aren’t enamored at some of the nightly highlights the Warriors make look so routine, then you lack an appreciation for the game at all.
Rather than shun the new fans flocking to watch them play, I welcome any and all fans to join us on this journey. Tune in and enjoy some of the most exciting basketball I have ever watched. This team epitomizes what basketball is supposed to be- a team sport, played with a selfless and light-hearted demeanor. Their shear enjoyment of the game and ability to execute while they play is contagious as a spectator. Regardless of the team you route for, the Warriors are a spectacle to watch when they are playing at the level Steve Kerr has been able to get out of them these last two seasons. There isn’t just one player dominating, but rather the entire team working as a unit to dominate as a whole. This lesson is applicable to anyone, in any team sport. It highlights the value of playing together as a unit, rather than individually. And damn, it is fun to watch.
On top of team play and ball movement, the concepts of basketball have changed drastically even from 10 years ago, as the three-point line has become the new mark for scoring. Players are getting more proficient from deeper and deeper, sparked by players like Stephen Curry. In my opinion, he has made the 3-point shot more exciting than a slam-dunk. Even big men are adding a 3-point shot to their repertoire, while the big men of old used to simply live in the paint. The seemingly ever expanding range of some of todays top shooters (many of whom are on the Warriors) has opened the game up and allowed for more spacing and more fluent ball movement on the court. This is something the selfless Warriors have really benefited from. This is what it is all about, and why tuning into the Warriors game has become an event for not only Warriors fans, but all fans of the sport in general.
The 06-07 “We Believe” Warriors will always hold a special place for me. The improbable run, coming off of twelve straight seasons where we failed to make playoffs. Even in this magical 2006 year, we barely squeaked into playoffs with the 8th and final seed, and managed to top a very good first placed Mavericks team. We were rather handily eliminated in the next round, but that small step of making it to playoffs after such a long drought felt like a victory of its own. The fans, who remained loyal through losing season after losing season, electrified Oracle arena, giving it the well-deserved nickname of “Roaracle”. That playoff race was so loud, the televised games used to display a decibel meter to show how loud the crowd was inside the stadium. This is the excitement I have always felt when I go to Oracle. From the days of Baron Davis and Monte Ellis, to the current era of Curry, Klay, Draymond, and now Kevin Durant. The passion of the fans was finally rewarded when the 2015 season brought the championship fans had been waiting for since the 70’s.
With another season approaching in a few hours, and the bitter taste of a finals loss, I can’t even explain how excited I am to see our Warriors back in action. We’ve lost a few pieces, and gained a few, but one thing coach Steve Kerr, and past coaches and players have helped to establish is excitement of watching the Warriors play. With an emphasis on ball movement and team play, combined with a defensive mentality that seamlessly transitions to our fast break offense, you can tell that these guys truly enjoy playing the game of basketball with one another. So rather than hate on the Warriors or call out bandwagon fans, why don’t we all enjoy the current state of basketball. Enjoy the style of play, the ball movement and the way the game has begun to change and spread out thanks in part to the Warriors style of play. At the end of the day, this sport boils down to pure entertainment, and the Golden State Warriors are at the top of the charts. So tune in, and enjoy.