I only have fleeting memories of sitting on the couch, watching Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, and Mitch Richmond run their way to short-lived relevance. I remember not understanding the concept of Billy Owens. I remember my dad taking 10-year-old me to the Oakland Arena in the summer of 1993 to watch the Chris Webber draft, and vaguely remember seeing him in a Bullets uniform seemingly all-too-soon after. I remember guys with stupid names like Bimbo Coles, Mookie Blaylock, and Chris Mills. (Ok, his name wasn't stupid, but his presence on the court might have been.)
My childhood memories of the Warriors are strikingly absent of winning moments. This story is familiar to many of you. Our history isn't storied. None but the most seasoned among us have memories of trophies held aloft, rings being kissed, confetti falling from the rafters. We don't even have lesser pennant flags to celebrate, conference championship contentions to recall. No, our memories of triumph are short.
But We Believe?
We do have that.
2006-2007, the year of our generation in Warriors terms. Starting with our first star in a decade in Baron Davis, reenergized midseason by the jettisoning of the Dunmurphy Sisters (sorry — not a tasteful nickname, but definitely a hilarious one) for Captain Jack and one of the Ninja Turtles, and culminating, of course, in the first playoff berth in more than a decade — and the first playoff series win in even longer.
That long-winded, meandering trip down memory lane finally brings us to the Dallas Mavericks, tonight's opponent for today's Golden State Warriors. Fans of more eminent franchises might find it somewhat pathetic that some of us (possibly just me) think about the Mavericks in terms of that 2007 playoff victory. But that memory has been dying hard, as there hasn't exactly been anything comparable to replace it.
These teams aren't even close to resembling their 2007 selves. Remaining are Dirk Nowitzki, still alive and kicking but six years later finally showing signs of injury-induced decline; and Andris Biedrins, over the hill and past his prime at the ripe old age of 26, not likely to be much of a factor, though likely playing the role of stand-in starter in place of so-is-he-healthy-or-isn't-he Andrew Bogut.
And the story behind this game isn't close, either. The Warriors, 30-20, are trying to salvage a win on a tough road trip, the Mavericks representing their only chance for a victory but also their best chance for one if you'd have looked at the schedule beforehand. Dallas, 21-28 and not likely to sniff playoff contention this season, are still going to be looking for wins wherever they can find them, and might be looking at the Dubs as vulnerable. They might also be looking to avenge a loss just 10 days ago — 10 long days in Warriors terms, at least in terms of this year's Warriors team that has gone from solid defensively and solid reboundingly to disastrous in both in recent days.
What Dallas won't be looking to avenge is 2007. They've put that year behind them. They've won a championship since then, kissed their rings, hoisted their trophy. We might not forget We Believe anytime soon. But I'm looking forward to that memory losing some of its significance and being replaced by more recent others of its kind.