That’s right I’m a Warriors fan until….. The team leaves and goes back across the Bay to San Francisco. Now I know it’s not far and yes will still be in the Bay Area but to me, it’s still a slap in the face (enter batman smack here). I’m from Oakland the “Town” the blue collar city next to San Francisco that used to have the cheaper rents and many of the same gorgeous views as San Francisco & the Bay Area is known for. We’re the city the Warriors moved to back in 1971.
I became a Warriors fan the 1992-1993 season when I first got into basketball. I remember getting my first set of NBA Hoops trading cards, I remember having a Chris Mullin and Billy Owens card in that set. I remember getting a Victor Alexander card and telling everyone he was my cousin because we share the same last name (you know how kids are), and it was no way you could tell me he wasn’t family at that age. But also that’s the year my favorite player came into the league, well at least until Kevin Garnett was drafted. But the guy I’m speaking of, none other than Latrell Sprewell. I even remember my first basketball team, we wore those horrible blue and gold reversible jersey’s with the 90’s Warrior logo on them. I even asked to wear #15 in honor of Spree for three (remember that). My first game was in ’96 with my grandfather and brother. We watched the New Jersey Nets take an L to the W’s in a preseason game. We sat in section 220.
My allegiance runs deep. I didn’t care how much we lost through out the mid to late 90’s and 2000’s. I still wore my Joe Smith jersey with pride even after he left the team. The city of Oakland suffered through the losing years, the thunder era with those horrid midnight blue jersey’s with the thunder bolts running all through them. All the horrible drafts by Gary St. Jean who would only take ACC guys no matter who was on the board. I mean how do you take Todd Fuller of N.C. State over Kobe Dean Bryant? Sorry for the reminder to the real fans. But my point is this, we have won our first ‘ship since 1975, a year I wasn’t even thought of by far; I mean I didn’t come along until 9 years later. In the 1984 – 85 season we were still losing, posting a 22-60 record under coaching from Johnny Bach (R.I.P coach). The “we believe” year 2006 when Mike Montgomery was fired and Don Nelson was brought back in to make up for the team getting rid of our last rookie of the year Chris Webber. One playoff appearance a few more losing seasons and an ownership change.
Yes, the change in owners was the best and worst thing to happen because that brought in people who really cared. I mean you bring in the logo himself to help build your team and a former sports agent to be you general manager, great moves. But here’s why it was a bad move in my eyes. This move brought in owners that don’t share the same passion for the City of Oakland. Yes the team still helps in the community, yes they have great players now-a-days and develop them as well as any other team around. But the team and this new era of winning wants to escape the small city that stuck by them, the city that helped with selling out an arena of a losing team season after season after season. I was apart of it, I attended at least 10 games a season but now, I can barely afford a preseason ticket. I get it’s about money and you want a beautiful arena to play in, I have no problem with that. But to leave with your new found success for the “Big City” isn’t cool to me. I mean I Hate with a passion when TNT shows views of SF and not Oakland during games. I am happy ESPN finally got it right and started showing more of Oakland. I don’t think the owners care how much it’s going to take to see a game at a San Francisco site.
Here, let me break it down for an Oaklander. If driving; that’s gas money, bridge toll, traffic (the time in life you can’t get back), finding parking, pay for parking, arena priced food and beer, then you have to sit in traffic going back to Oakland. Let’s say you want to take public transportation. Then you have to ride Bart into the city (you’re crazy if you catch AC transit into the city), and more than likely, unless this arena is downtown you’ll have to take muni the rest of the way. On top of the list earlier mentioned. Financially it doesn’t make much sense unless you just have it like that, and I DON’T. I also wonder if the owners only look at where season ticket holders live. I know they’re not all form San Francisco. And I know for sure everyone will miss that freeway access that gets you home wheter you live in the North Bay, East Bay, or South Bay. So is it really worth it?
It was already sad the team refused to identify with the city it calls home. We still haven’t gotten alternate jerseys that say either Oakland or The Town. I mean the team could even pay homage to the Oakland Oaks of the ABA. Oakland the hot bed for talent, and we all know the list of players the city has turned out. The city is still producing talent at a rapid pace. Look at the O.A.L. (Oakland Athletic League), a small section of Oakland’s high schools where most Oakland players come from. And just think of the guys who don’t make it all the way pro. The city is oozing with talent in every sport, but we can’t get the proper respect from our professional basketball team. The city was ran by Nike in my day. If you didn’t play in Nikes you were considered WEAK. If you played in Reeboks, you were “OK.” Barley anyone wore Adidas until Kobe came along with the crazy 8’s and if you really, really played hoop— you knew not to play in Jordans. Now-a-days, almost all the kids wear Steph Curry’s in honor of their favorite player but he’s also from the local team. The local team that refuses to identify with the city they play in.
So yes it’s petty to stop supporting because as most people say their just moving across the bay. But to a true Oaklander, it’s a slap in the face to move when you find success. The NBA should have forced a name change like the MLB did with the Anaheim Angels who were once the California Angels. But because they weren’t the only team that represented the state a change was forced. In Cali you have the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings. All have taking on the names of their host cities. I mean even when the Clippers were in San Diego 1978 – 1984. They took on the host city’s name. So what’s wrong with the Golden State Warriors being called the Oakland Warriors? And staying in Oakland, California?
I’m sure they will get a Bart stop right? But my Oakland friends are pretty sad they are leaving too. Oracle is a great arena to take the train to. But it is hella old. The team needs a new arena. Being in SF not the end of the world.