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.