It is not easy to compare the Golden State Warriors to any other franchise in the league. We now stand exclusively, as the undisputed champ of historically bad franchises. The Clippers are out of the dog house. Sure, the new ownership is the most important and first step out of hell, but what else? Where do we go now?
I was born in Oakland, and live there to this day. I get goosebumps when I look up on 880 and see the Arena. I'm proud to have a team in the city where I was born and raised - a luxury not all kids get to experience.
But, I'd gladly give up the scenery on 880, swallow a bit of pride, and make the B.A.R.T. trip under the water if the Warriors emerged perennial winners and gained overall credibility as a franchise.
Why does San Francisco change the situation?
Does the average non-Californian college prospect coming into the league realize how close Oakland is to San Francisco? Does the free agent? Do they know the relevance of the San Francisco, and even the greater Bay Area?....The gold in Silicon Valley?
I've never been to New York. Even still, if you show me a post card of Newark, New Jersey, and then flash another of Manhattan, New York, I'm going to quickly tell you where I'd rather spend my time. Why wouldn't the same principle apply to a pro athlete, when comparing Oakland to San Francisco? People are people.
Clearly, it matters. Once you associate what San Francisco means in relation to the rest of the United States, and as long as it's teams (Giants, 49ers) are winning, the city of San Francisco will be synonymous with two things:
1) Premium living 2) Winning
For the outsider, what is Oakland synonymous with?
Whether or not Oakland is 5 miles from San Francisco or 500 miles, is not relevant to somebody who doesn't know any better. Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not a team is serious about winning. Joe Lacob has said he wants to win. The money he put on the table, his whispers of moving the team across the bay, and this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y10F_6VQ0WY......would help the cause.
Every athlete's dream is to play on the big stage. San Francisco is a big stage. Build it, and they will come.