If you’ve been a Golden State Warriors fan for a long time, then you probably remember where you were on May 11, 2007. It was on that day that Baron Davis electrified Oracle Arena with the most ferocious of dunks on perennial All-World defender Andrei Kirilenko.
Until Steph Curry came around, that dunk was far and away the greatest and most memorable Warriors play in modern history.
It was 13 years ago today. Let’s watch it again.
My goodness. I’ve literally watched this hundreds of times, and it still sends chills up my spine.
The dunk was special because it seemed to encapsulate everything that was special about that 2006-07 We Believe team. Even though it was essentially the final highlight of the year — the Utah Jazz would win the next two games to eliminate Golden State — it represented so much.
The moment felt like it was lighting the candles on the cake that was upsetting the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round. It was the most entertaining player on arguably the league’s most entertaining team, performing the most entertaining play in basketball at the most entertaining level. It rocked Oracle Arena, a place that could rock like no other.
Yes, the Warriors would lose in five games, and yes, Davis’ relationship with the organization would sour, and no, it wasn’t the start of a long reign as Western Conference contenders, as many of us blissfully and ignorantly hoped. But the play still captured a moment — a powerful, enthralling, unforgettable moment.
Davis finished the game with a superstar statline — 32 points on 12-20 shooting, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, and 6 steals.
It was a foreshadowing of what lay in the future for the Warriors. In a game often defined by big men, the point guard shined brightest, and his backcourt co-star, Jason Richardson, had 25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block, while shooting 5-9 from beyond the arc.
Remind you of anyone? Yes, that’s a Klay Thompson statline if ever I’ve seen one. In fact, Thompson has scored at least 25 points, grabbed at least 5 rebounds, and made at least 5 triples 35 times in his career, including 6 times in the playoffs.
The Davis-Richardson backcourt was broken up too early, and we never got to see how good they could be. But, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s also clear they never could have flown quite as high as moments like Davis’ dunk allowed us to dream that they could.
In a way, that’s what made this moment, and this season so special. It was the highest point possible for the Warriors.
Until a higher point came around.