Where were you when it happened?
For most of my adult life, the Warriors were a joyous pain to watch. Chris Cohan took over as sole owner of the Warriors in 1995. During this time, we the Warriors had two winning seasons and one trip to the playoffs -- the “We Believe” run in 2007. People talk a lot about Roaracle, but often gloss over the early 2000’s, when guys like Speedy Claxton and a series of mismanaged moves drove even the most faithful fans away.
And yet, we kept coming back. Year after painful year. We wandered the world of NBA fandom like Moses in the dessert. Hoping against hope that salvation was coming.
“Over the past 33 seasons, interest in the Warriors, as measured by tickets purchased, has outpaced the team's on-court success 18 times,” Peterson wrote. “That's stunning when you consider we're talking about a team that has won 18 playoff games in the time it's taken the [Los Angeles] Lakers to make 31 postseason appearances.”
I’m not going to get into reiterating the series of misfortunes that occurred, but if you are feeling especially masochistic, there’s always Grantland’s summary of how to annoy a fan base.
Instead, let’s focus on Joe Lacob, and how his passion and excellence helped turned the fortunes of this franchise around.
7/15/2010 - The Warriors are sold to Silicon Valley venture capitalist Joe Lacob and his investment group featuring Peter Guber. pic.twitter.com/PZfvOGoc1y— This Day in Suck (@Thisdayinsuck) July 15, 2017
As Lacob said when he took over, his tenure would be defined by his passion:
"I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be the next steward of this storied NBA franchise. This is my dream come true," said Lacob, who is also the managing partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "Peter and I intend to do what we do best -- innovating and building. It is our passion to return the Warriors to greatness and build nothing short of a championship organization that will make all of us in the Bay Area proud."
At the time, most people thought that the eventual sale to Larry Ellison was all but done. There was shock when Lacob and Guber swooped in to purchase the franchise for the then-record $450 million price tag, but underneath the shock was still an overwhelming sense of relief. Whatever happened, there was no way that it could be worse than Cohan’s ineptitude.
Sure, twenty bucks for a ticket, hot dog, chips and a drink - but so what!? It was affordable, and yet...meaningless, to a degree. No one wanted to play here unless we overpaid them. Fan favorites were traded away in cost saving measures, like when we dumped Jason Richardson for a trade exception that went unused. Because if the ownership isn't chasing rings, then by default they tend to chase profits.
Two championships in three years, and a team poised to compete for another one next season. I know that I’m not the only one who complains about the ever-increasing cost of attending games but I think it bears remembering that our franchise's fortunes are inextricably linked to Joe Lacob’s ownership group.
These are the halcyon days of the current era. The Warriors are still in Oakland, and are better than they ever were before. Hell, maybe better than any team has ever been before.
Thanks, Joe! And happy anniversary to us all!!