If you were a fan of the Golden State Warriors during the 1990s and most of the 2000s, you’re well aware of how bad this franchise once was.
There were no superstars, no All-Stars and certainly no championship banners. Warriors’ fans did have some 30-win seasons and a few bright spots (Jason Richardson winning dunk contests), but it was dark times at The Arena. Yes, I said The Arena. These were the days where being .500 was considered a success.
We had Latrell Sprewell, “The Choke”, Earl Boykins, Vonteego Cummings, Todd Fuller and many other names/moments on a long list of disappointment. This is what Warriors fans were used to, it’s what we expected.
That was until the 2006-07 season. Richardson along with Monta Ellis, Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington and Matt Barnes accomplished more than Warriors teams of the previous 15 years. There was hope and belief in Dub Nation.
It was this “We Believe” team that gave hope to a hungry fan base, especially this fan. For once, I was truly excited and amazed that this team made it to the playoffs. Thinking it would start a run of playoff contention, but nope.
They were better in 2007-08, but so was the rest of the Western Conference. The team was disbanded and it was back to lottery picks and hoping for 30 wins.
I talk about all that because I don’t think many Warriors fans realize how special this run is. Not just the three straight finals appearances, but the five straight playoff trips.
It started with drafting Stephen Curry in 2009, then Klay Thompson in 2011, then Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green in 2012. A playoff berth and series victory over the Denver Nuggets in the 2012-13 season. Vets like David Lee, Andre Iguodala and Jermaine O’Neal added experience to this young squad led by Mark Jackson.
Then before the 2014-15 season, Jackson was let go and Steve Kerr was brought in as head coach. It was a questionable move. How would Kerr, a first-time coach, handle a young crop of budding superstars mixed with some unknown veteran pieces?
Looking back at that roster, it doesn’t look like a 60+ win team on paper. But, they were. They had the best record in the NBA and made it to their first finals in 40 years. Then, the unbelievable happened.
The Golden State Warriors, the perennial underdogs, the losers, the team that was never supposed to win anything, won. I cried, I was in disbelief and I got to experience a championship parade with my dad. Memories I will never forget and nobody can take away.
Growing up I never would have dreamed of a Warriors title, but it happened. And, now they have a shot at their 2nd in three years. It’s a great time to be a Warriors fan, bandwagon or not, and needs to be enjoyed to it’s fullest because you never know when a 30 win season is coming.
To all Warriors fans, old and new, enjoy these moments. If they’re up by 20, stay until the buzzer goes off. Down by 15, keep cheering and you may see an epic comeback. Stay loud, keep screaming and enjoy every moment.
Podcast with The Sly Show on the Warriors and so much more here.