Your 2017 NBA champs! (AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The narrative says that Warriors fans are spoiled. Even though a good portion of these fans have been through some ugly years for the past two decades, we are reaping the benefits of one of the greatest chapters in NBA history.
These Warriors pulled off the most impressive playoff run in history. They defeated a great team with arguably the greatest player of all time. Of course the Warriors are also stacked with talent themselves.
You can argue about how the Warriors were a shoo-in for the title after signing Kevin Durant. But that’s not the narrative. It’s not even about avenging the 3-1 collapse from last year (and the following memes).
Referee John Goble and Draymond Green discuss the confusion of the technical foul calls. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
We can all agree that last night’s NBA Finals game was some of the worst officiating in recent memory.
There were the confusing technical foul assessments that nobody knew about. There was also LeBron James and Kevin Durant being allowed to jaw at each other for way longer than they should have. There was also the confusion of Zaza Pachulia and if he did take a swipe at J.R. Smith’s crotch. There was also the seemingly insane amount of foul calls that leaned toward the Cavaliers’ side early on.
It was bad.
But that is not why the Warriors lost.
It was a weird feeling watching that final fourth quarter unfold during Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
I was sitting in my living room having a bunch of friends over to watch the game. One of them was a Cleveland native. The others were all for Los Angeles who were Lakers fans. I didn’t really care much about how they felt.
But it took me back as the game went back and forth and the Warriors lost their lead. I had a flashback to all the early years of my fandom of the Warriors and how a deficit would devastate me. That the end was inevitable and the Warriors had no chance of coming back.
That could have derailed me. But I also had a sense of calm.
Never taking this for granted. (AP)
“The Warriors are insufferable. The fans are bandwagon chumps. They are this stacked team and nobody likes how they’ve destroyed parity.”
I don’t care.
I grew up a Warriors fan in the mid 1990s when Run TMC had already disbanded and the team was going to endure a pretty pathetic playoff drought. For over a decade, I didn’t know what good quality basketball was all about. I only saw it occasionally when it was a nationally televised game featuring the good teams with Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Shaquille O’Neal and so on.
It was never ever in my belief that the Warriors could reach that level. Why not? The team gave me no reason after head coaching changes every couple of years and poor draft picks over and over again. Nobody wanted to sign with this team and worst of all, the NBA didn’t care about the Warriors either. I remember watching the NBA on NBC games and they would have their tag line video with the voiceover that went like this: “This copyrighted telecast is presented by authority of the National Basketball Association. It may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form, and the accounts and descriptions of this game may not be disseminated, without express written consent of the NBA.”
And in that video package, they would show their top stars in the background with their dunks, blocks, etc. Never did they feature a Warriors player. It was only the best players from the top eight teams in the league. It wasn’t until years later when the graphic featured a player from every team — I was so happy to see Jason Richardson dunk in that clip.
But that was the NBA for me. It was the elite teams and then the bottom of the ladder Warriors.
I can’t believe it was 10 years ago today that this happened.
I had been a die hard Warriors fan since I was a kid and this was the first time I experienced winning basketball from my team. Getting tickets to the game was hard already as we waited in line for hours a week prior. I was lucky enough to get these tickets and attend the greatest sporting event ever in my lifetime.
It was 10 years ago on this day I gathered in this small apartment. I was in college at the time and as young college kids from the Bay, it was an instant bond when we all realized we were Warriors fans. For a couple years prior, we would watch games and in hopes that the team might be good enough. Maybe the NBA would recognize that this team existed. It wasn’t meant to be.
But it was this season that the Warriors escaped the clutch of awfulness and squeaked into the playoffs on the last day of the season. The team was made up of misfits and they played a style of basketball that was perfect for them. We felt that this team was unstoppable.
That night, as we watched the Warriors dismantle the Blazers, we celebrated. It was a lifetime of frustration gone. We made the playoffs. We didn’t know how to react. The victory was in the books by early fourth quarter. We just waited for the formality of the clock hitting 0:00.
What we didn’t know was that this team was going to produce the greatest upset in NBA playoff history. I attended those We Believe playoff games against Dallas. It was special. And the wild ride began when the team made the playoffs.
Look at how much as changed in those 10 years. What a shift.
I still believe.
Here we go again.
Last Saturday during a nationally televised broadcast, the Warriors rested their key star players because they were wrapping up a brutal road trip. Last night, the Cavaliers were also on a long road trip and decided to rest star players.
And for the second week in a row, the ABC broadcast team complained. They called the Cavaliers “an absolute joke” for this. But I have to ask the question: Why are they so upset over this?