Back in October 2006 we launched The W Column for FSN Bay Area, then the local TV channel for the Golden State Warriors when most games weren't in HD(!). Our first column was America's Next Biggest Warriors Fan- a true classic during the Cohan era where Hegenberger Road and Coliseum Way = dysfunction junction. I still remember the original GSOM Crew's answers to the provocative opening question Why we love the Warriors even though they've missed the playoffs for 12 straight seasons. Here was mine:
I'm a Golden State Warriors fan because I'm in a golden state of mind.
The Bay Area sports soul is fragmented in professional football (49ers and Raiders) and baseball (A's and Giants) as well as college athletics (Cal, Stanford, San Jose State, and Santa Clara University), but not in pro hoops. The Warriors are a unifying force in Bay Area sports. They represent the Bay and are a rallying point for all of us. Every time the Warriors win it's like throwing up a big W for the entire Bay. That's golden.
Almost every night out at the Arena and on the road the Warriors aren't supposed to win. It's that "shock the world" mentality that breathes life into Warriors Nation. That mentality ignites our interests even when the Warriors aren't within sniffing distance of the playoffs. It fuels our Bay Area hoops soul. That's golden.
It might sound silly that the Warriors officially play for "Golden State", but there's nothing silly about being in a golden state of mind. That my friends is truly golden.
The Seattle Super Sonics never became Larry Ellison's San Jose Super Sonics and the Warriors are 9 years later still The Bay's Team. No doubt about it.
I've lived in the Bay Area the vast majority of my life- growing up in the East Bay and in residing in the Peninsula for the past decade, so I don't want to play separatist along Bay Area county lines. Still there's something very special about seeing the Warriors in the NBA Finals while they're still in Oakland and the East Bay.
Times are obviously changing for the Warriors. They're winning for one, but as a business they're becoming an incredibly expensive ticket that's itching to get out out of The Town to multiply their dead presidents on the more posh side of the Bay Bridge. There's nothing wrong or right about it. It's just how things work with capitalism and the business of sports.
I didn't realize this until after living in the Peninsula, studying at Stanford, and working in Silicon Valley the past decade, but Oakland and the East Bay at large is commonly (and I believe unfairly) viewed as the Bay Area backwaters by too many folks in San Francisco and Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. I've heard many basketball fans on the western side of the Bay say they're excited the Warriors are leaving the East Bay ghetto and their concrete dump for a luxury SF palace. It's unfortunate.
When the Warriors do inevitably move to SF, I'm going to miss Oakland and the Roaracle dearly. There have been so many Unstoppable Baby moments and it could have only happened in Oakland and the East Bay. The diversity in the Roaracle crowd has been unmatched across NBA arenas. The hoops IQ has been genius level. The East Bay hoops soul will be eternal even after the Warriors are in SF and so many folks are priced out.
It's a dream that the Golden State Warriors are in the NBA Finals before they leave Oakland. Thank you hoops gods.
Now let's do this.
For more on the NBA's championship series, check out our 2015 NBA Finals section.