In April 2007, the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors, led by Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, and Jason Richardson stunned the basketball world. In dramatic, underdog fashion, the Warriors defeated the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs, claiming the best-of-seven series by a count of 4-2.
The Warriors snuck into the playoffs, finishing two games over .500 at 42-40. Don Nelson and his squad finished the season on a tear, winning 16 of the final 21 games. This marked the team’s first playoff appearance since the 1993 – 1994 campaign.
Golden State carried this late-season momentum into the postseason. They came. They saw. And, they won the first round. Then, they partied like they had won the NBA Championship.
In the Western Conference semifinals versus the Jazz, the Warriors came out flat. They were out-rebounded, and they could not execute in critical moments. Utah won the best-of-seven series in five games.
Still, the Warriors organization and its fans uphold a great deal of pride when it comes to the “We Believe” era. On Tuesday night at Oracle Arena, the 2007 team was honored in a pre-game ceremony. Davis, Jackson, Richardson, Monta Ellis, Al Harrington, (former / current Warrior) Matt Barnes, and a handful of other key players were in attendance.
Having witnessed the impressive feat firsthand, and to be able to reflect on it, is quite satisfying. It is thoroughly important to honor past heroes and past achievements.
But, at the same time, we cannot get caught up in the nostalgia. We cannot live in the past.
For instance, imagine seeing your favorite band from your adolescence perform 15 years after the fact. It’s fun to reminisce. It’s fun to sing the songs (because you know every word). And in that moment, you remember how the music complemented your past experiences. However, 15 years is a long time. Things change. People change. Attitudes adjust. Interests fade. While nostalgia is euphoric, it is short-lived. The key is to live in the moment.
The time is now for these 2016 – 2017 Warriors. After last season’s meltdown, coupled with the offseason acquisition of Kevin Durant, the expectations are through the roof.
As we navigate through the Western Conference semifinals, we find that the Warriors are pitted against the Utah Jazz once again. Some may consider it a story of redemption. While the cast of characters is different, the ultimate prize remains.
The reunion was merely a complementary storyline. It was an added incentive to tune into the game. It generated a nostalgic effect for the viewer, and it effectively boosted TV ratings. But, hey, that’s business as usual in America!
The real question is, did the tech brethren and the real estate tycoons sitting courtside at “Roaracle” genuinely appreciate the gesture?
Did these folks experience the excitement during the “We Believe” era? Did they own season tickets during the 2007 run? Or, did they recently hop on the bandwagon?
See, money is power. And, winning is contagious. The Warriors are a bona fide contender nowadays because they have powerful, experienced leaders, both on the court and in the management sphere. Prior editions of Warriors basketball (e.g. “Run TMC,” “We Believe”) found a good deal of success, but they could not sustain it. There was talent, but no vision.
In two years time, the Warriors will ditch Oracle Arena and the City of Oakland, a place they’ve called “home” for the past 46 seasons. The transition is bittersweet for many longtime fans.
The Golden State (or perhaps the “San Francisco”) Warriors will open the 2019-2020 season at the Chase Center, situated in the trendy Mission Bay enclave in San Francisco. Will a new setting generate a better experience? Will it provide a better home-court advantage?
It’s safe to assume that the overall vibe will be different. Furthermore, the price of admission will spike. Meanwhile, expectations for the organization will increase accordingly. There is added pressure for Joe Lacob and Peter Guber to deliver a top-notch product on an annual basis.
We know this much: head coach Steve Kerr, along with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and all supporting cast members represent the “Golden Age” of Warriors basketball. It would be prudent to acknowledge the widespread notion that says, “Nothing gold can stay.” So enjoy it while it lasts, Dub Nation.
Let’s Go Warriors!