The Warriors’ championship run taught me the beautiful lesson of patience

Patience is hard to come by when you’re a fan of a franchise that has struggled to reach the top for 40 years. It’s hard to believe that something good can happen when everything wrong has happened. I didn’t think that the enduring pain of seeing the Warriors falter for so many years would go away.

Yet tonight, all that pain and suffering was washed away. Just like that.

Being a Warriors fan wasn’t easy growing up. I was in first grade when I mimicked my first basketball player. That was Chris Mullin. I thought the Warriors were the best. But in the following years, we would see bad trades, bad coaches and bad play. Yet I stuck with them. I didn’t know any better. But I knew that they were the team I fell in love with first and I would stick with them. They were my home team. They represented me. I represented them.

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Warriors basketball: A passion that never goes away

Been a Warriors fan through these three eras.

A trip down memory lane for me as a Warriors fan. 

I remember I was in first grade and I saw the Warriors on TV. I didn’t know much about basketball, I just liked it. I would try to imitate what I saw on TV to the playground. I even remember the first ever basket I made on the playground I thought that I could one day match what the Warriors did. It was so easy to be impressed by this Warriors team. Little did I know that they were embarking on a playoff drought. But they were the first team I watched. The first team I followed. I fell in love with basketball because of them. And I never left.

It’s not easy being a Warriors fan. As I grew older, my frustrations would grow more and more with the team. It started off innocently with guys like Joe Smith and Latrell Sprewell. Talented players but still not the answer to making the team successful. Of course there would be some questionable coaching decisions, odd free agent signings and just bad draft picks. Remember Todd Fuller? Yeah, the Warriors took him over Kobe Bryant. Still, I followed this team. I would sit by the radio almost every night, listening to the team on KNBR. I loved basketball and I felt that maybe one day they would turn the tide.

I thought their new logo in the 90s was the best. It was perfect for a kid like me. Some kind of mythical mascot with lightning bolts. That coincided with future draft picks like Vince Carter (who was traded for Antawn Jamison) and Gilbert Arenas. Some hope and potential came but it was not meant to be. Bad coaching hires and frustrating seasons later, this team was back to square one. Still, I followed this team. Of course it would have been easier to follow another team during that time. But I don’t do that. I stay loyal to the team that helped me love the game.

I remember that 1999 lockout season. The Warriors finished 21-29 and almost made the playoffs. I thought that was the greatest season. Only because it was the most successful the team ever hard. The bar wasn’t set high, but it gave me a glimpse of what could be.

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Understanding why NFL players are retiring so early

Patrick Willis retires after eight seasons in the NFL.

I remember when Barry Sanders retired from the NFL. He had been in the league since 1989 and 10 years later, was still a very effective running back. I was selfish when he announced it because he was so close to becoming the all-time leading rusher. But instead, he walked away because he just didn’t have the same passion anymore. I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted him to play longer. I wanted him to have the record. I hated that he left the game like that.

It took me a long while until I started covering the 49ers as a beat writer in 2009 did I started to understand these kinds of decisions fully.

Every day, I saw what these players go through with their bodies. I see the strain it took on some of them and their families. I saw the difficulties they had to maintain as a famous person. Even though the money was great, the stress and the burdens continued to rise daily. There’s the glory of being a famous NFL player, but there is a lot of other baggage that comes along with.

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What does the future hold for Draymond Green and the Warriors?

Draymond Green becomes a restricted free agent after this season.

When the Warriors drafted Draymond Green a few years ago, I was really excited. I had watched Green play at Michigan State since his freshman year and I was very familiar with his skills. He was a player with no place, as his size, frame and athleticism wasn’t a prototype of a successful NBA player. Nevertheless, he had many great qualities and in time, could evolve into someone special.

Fast forward to now and Green is one of the most important players on the Warriors. He’s been getting praise for his ability to shut down defenders down the post and up top at the guard position. His versatility has allowed the Warriors defense to shoot up the top of the ranks in the NBA. Additionally, his offensive numbers have risen. He is still a work in progress and his deep-range shooting at times has hurt the Warriors. But overall, he’s a great asset to the team and has been so key for the Warriors ever since he was named the starter following David Lee’s struggles.

He becomes a restricted free agent after this season, meaning the Warriors can match any offer another team gives Green. The organization, including head coach Steve Kerr, has expressed desire to keep Green with the Warriors. If that’s the case, how come the team hasn’t given him an extension and risk him hitting the free agency market?

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Remembering the Loma Prieta Earthquake 25 years later

I was only 3 when this earthquake happened. I have no memory of it. But I remember watching old footage of it as a kid later on. My parents had recorded the news broadcast with their VCR. I was fortunate enough to be living in a part of the East Bay that didn’t suffer major damage from this quake. But this earthquake still shakes me up every time I think about it.

Even though I don’t remember any of it and wasn’t affected severely by it, watching old footage of the quake still sends chills down my spine. Earlier this week I was on YouTube just watching some of the videos they had on and I was in tears. It’s still frightening to see all of the damage and lost lives.

I’ve grown up and lived in California for pretty much my entire life. Earthquakes are normal to me. I’ve withstood minor ones over the years and have been fortunate to never have experienced anything like what we had in 1989.

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All this Derek Jeter love-fest wouldn’t exist if not for one fact

Earlier, I shared my joys about Derek Jeter. He’s been a consistently good player for most of his career. His final years haven’t been all that, but overall, he’s been a staple in Yankees baseball. I hate the Yankees, but he’s one of few players that I don’t hate. I like him. He’s good for baseball.

Since I live in Southern California, I even made it out to his final game in Anaheim just so I can see him one last time. I wanted to see him play one last time. I even snapped this Hall of Fame photo. I enjoy watching him play.

With that being said, the love-fest he’s gotten all season long is too much. Do we need all this? Do we need everyone showering him with all this love and gifts and ceremonies? The excessive force-feeding of merchandise? Yes, he deserves great praise. But this is going overboard.

Jeter was never among the greatest player of his generation. He never won MVP, never won a batting title. He rarely was ever the top guy in any major statistical categories. He was good and has had memorable postseason moments, but hanging on to those clutch postseason games does not define a two-decade career.

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Jed York and the 49ers reputation is in the hands of the Ray McDonald investigation

A lot is on the line for the 49ers and it rides on the outcome of the Ray McDonald investigation.

Throughout the entire Ray Rice domestic violence news that has overtaken us this past 24 hours, we are reminded that the 49ers are dealing with a similar situation. “Ray McDonald is not Ray Rice,” 49ers CEO Jed York told KNBR this morning. He is right. But it’s tough to try to sift through all the discussion with domestic violence right in the forefront and not find similarities.

Ray McDonald is not Ray Rice. That is true. His situation is not similar to that of Rice’s. But with Rice ordeal still in our minds, the 49ers are very aware of the potential consequences if McDonald’s alleged domestic violence attack is true.

But of course, the 49ers are not the type of organization to be the judge, jury and executioner on their own. They wait when they’re demanded to be swift. The same way they waited and allowed Aldon Smith to play one game before hearing the outcry of the public. Then did Smith receive some sort of punishment in the form of rehab. It was only then after did the NFL suspend Smith for nine games.

They knew that Smith was out of control, yet they balked at making a move.

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