I will be the first to admit that I am no hardcore basketball expert. I like basketball. But, I have grown to LOVE the Warriors. The Warriors have turned me into a don’t make plans on game day, stay up late to watch recorded games, read sports articles, watch sports commentary and listen to sports radio kind of person. They’ve turned me into an actually get mad at people making stupid comments about my team kind of person. Here’s why (shout-out to Andy for his help on this post before he passed out on the couch):
The Warriors Exemplify Teamwork
Everyone on the team is important, from the League MVP to the men on the bench. Everyone plays a role, everyone touches the ball. They led the NBA this season with 2373 assists; they averaged 29 assists-per-game which is almost seven per game more than the league average. Sixty-eight percent of Warriors’ field goals were assisted.
When things go well, each Warrior gives credit to his teammates; when they get run over, each Warrior shoulders the responsibility instead of passing it off. They play with a chemistry that seems to grow out of genuine friendship and trust.
The Warriors are Humble and Selfless
Warriors play for the good of the team. Players that could be starters, like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala, are willing to play off the bench because it works better for the Dubs. Iggy, an All-Star in Philly and Denver, started with Golden State before willingly accepting a role off the bench. Klay Thompson, Splash Brother extraordinaire and defensive stopper, is a superstar who doesn’t mind receiving less media attention than his fellow Splash Brother, Steph Curry. These Warriors turn what some might label a demotion into opportunities to add strength and immeasurable value to their team. They demonstrate a humility that is rare and admirable.
The Warriors Overcome Expectations
The Warriors make each other better basketball players. Through their unselfish play, they lift and push each other to overcome expectations. Some examples:
Leandro Barbosa: When he joined the team last year, no one thought he could bring his trademark speed to have a meaningful impact. Since joining the Warriors, the Brazilian Blur has not only contributed meaningful minutes, he has brought a soulful spirit to the locker room. He is one of the most popular teammates in the NBA.
Andrew Bogut: Was the number one draft pick but was plagued by injuries throughout his career. When the Warriors traded Monta Ellis for Bogut, people were critical because the Aussie was always hurt. However, he has become the backbone of the Warriors’ defense, and his exceptional passing ability helps the offense run.
Stephen Curry: Wasn’t recruited by any big schools and people believed he was too small to play in the NBA. Despite recurring ankle injuries, he became the league MVP last year. This year, he came back stronger and shattered shooting records, led the league in steals and became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. He keeps getting better and he makes his team better. He is changing the way the game is played. Curry is a basketball revolution.
Sidenote: I deeply admire Curry’s devotion to God and to his family. I believe he plays inspired basketball because of his faith. He is a true role model.
Shaun Livingston: Drafted out of high school, he suffered a gruesome knee injury early in his career in which he “tore his ACL, PCL, MCL, and meniscus and dislocated his knee. There was legitimate concern that his leg would have to be amputated.” There were questions about whether he’d be able to walk again, let alone play in the NBA. He has been instrumental in the Warriors’ success. In Game 1 of this year’s NBA finals, he led the team with 20 points against the Cavs. You can’t be human if you don’t root for a guy like this.
Draymond Green: Critics doubted his size and ability to be successful in the NBA. Hard work and passion have driven him to become an NBA All-Star and the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year two years running. This year, he was second in the league for triple-doubles. He is the heart, soul and emotional leader of the Warriors team.
Sidenote: Suspending Draymond is complete BS! I ♥ Day Day!
The Warriors Play Beautiful Basketball
The teamwork, trust and humility combined with insane skills create a style of basketball that is beautiful – and fun – to watch. When the Warriors are in their groove, it’s like watching a dance. A dominant, lethal, fun and graceful dance. Between the ridiculous passing, insane three pointers, artful ball handling and aggressive defense, Warriors’ basketball is sometimes unreal. I can’t understand anyone who hates on this type of game – or this kind of team.
The Warriors are Hilarious
Klay Thompson is the biggest Harry Potter fan and was stoked out of his mind to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter during a series in Orlando. He also wears Yoda socks. The Currys make hilarious videos with the Obamas.
Draymond Green has no filter and I love it. The Warriors prank and pour water on each other during post-game interviews. They have dance traditions and play golf together. They have fun. Again, what’s not to love?
The Warriors Represent the Bay
I’m getting a lot tired of people who say the Warriors represent techie bajillionaries, the entitled millennial generation or clueless bandwagoners. Maybe those are the people who can afford to attend post-season games – blame that on our capitalist economy – but those people are not the heart and soul of the Roaracle fan base. Let’s set this one straight.
The Warriors represent the Bay, a deeply diverse intersection of communities that includes immigrants, laborers, activists, students, and yeah, tech monkeys too. This fan base runs deep and spans generations. It is founded on fans – like my husband and his six brothers – who’ve backed their team through decades of general suckiness and for whom championships are just icing on cake they will love no matter what. Before the first championship (another one is coming soon), Al Saracevic of SF Gate wrote, “Despite years of suffering, Warriors fans have consistently packed Oracle Arena, making it the envy of every other city on the NBA circuit.”
Warriors General Manager, Bob Myers, who has been in the league for years as an agent and an executive describes Dubs fans as “‘Different. Unique. I’ve been in the NBA for years and you can get jaded. But this is something special.’”
So yes, there are Dub Nation bandwagoners, and I say, if you’re going to yell and scream at the right times, come join the party. But remember, there is real pride and genuine loyalty here. It is something unifying and special. The Bay represents.
I remember going to games when upper deck tickets were $15. I remember cheering on Baron Davis and Monta Ellis from the nosebleeds. I remember when our signs said, “We Believe” and I put one up in my classroom. Last year, when Carter was only two months old, we brought him to the Warriors’ preseason open practice – the cheering was so loud, he cried the whole time. We brought him to a couple more regular season games – he cheered enthusiastically for both teams. Andy and I splurged big time on Western Conference semi-finals tickets in the lower bowl – consolidating all of the year’s holiday gifts in one purchase – and it was absolutely worth it. Some of this year’s regular season upper deck tickets cost more than our post-season tickets last year. We couldn’t afford to attend even one game this season. Despite this, I became an even more devoted fan for all the reasons mentioned above. Carter has also become a Warriors faithful.
Here’s Carter shooting hoops the afternoon after he went to the ER…for falling and hitting his head while standing on a chair shooting hoops.
I love the Warriors. They Warriors aren’t great because they win; they win because they are great. The doubters and haters can step aside. I will be cheering when they win the Championship this year. And I will be cheering next year too. Strength in numbers. Dub Nation for life!