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The absence of the Warriors is weird

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Seemingly everyone else in the sporting world is playing, but not the most dominant team of the last few years.

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors - Game Two Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If you’re a fan of sports — and I’m going to go ahead and make the bold assumption that you are — then Thursday was a special day. A monumental day. An historic day.

There was sports galore.

With the coronavirus pandemic having delayed numerous seasons, seemingly every American sports league has been partaking in games at once, and on Thursday it all melded together into one gigantic bowl of sporty goodness.

The NBA showed up, with MVPs LeBron James, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook.

The WNBA showed up, with MVPs Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike, and a cast of other stars.

The NFL showed up, complete with Patrick Mahomes and J.J. Watt.

The MLB was there with ... /gestures vaguely ... everyone.

Tennis made an appearance, with Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka deep in their Grand Slam runs.

MLS was there with whoever plays in MLS (I’ll be honest, I have no clue).

NHL was there with whoever plays in NHL (I’ll be honest, I have no clue).

College football was there with whoever plays in college football (I’ll be honest, I have no clue).

Golf happened!

It was the first time that all of those leagues and sports had played on the same day, and it was beautiful.

The Golden State Warriors, of course, were nowhere to be found.

They’ve been nowhere to be found since March 10 when they, long out of playoff contention, dropped a stinker to the Los Angeles Clippers.

They’re hardly alone in their exclusion from the festivities. In total, 23 NBA teams are sitting on the couch, and that number could be 25 by the end of Friday night.

But of those other 22 eliminated teams, 15 got to play in the NBA’s bubble, and the other seven umm ... well ... how do I say this politely ... the other seven ... uhh ... who cares about them?

The Warriors, on the other hand, are a focal point in the sports landscape. Steph Curry is one of the most popular athletes in the world. Klay Thompson is one of the most beloved players in the NBA. And Golden State — with their three championships, five Finals appearances, two MVPs, and one record-setting season in the last five years — are arguably the most dominant team in all of sports over the last half decade.

It didn’t feel weird that they were excluded in July, when sports returning still felt bizarre and surreal and, if we’re being frank, meaningless. Now the reality that sports are back has sunk in, and we’re left to suffocate under a pile of courts, balls, cleats, sneakers, rackets, replays, and whistles.

And now it’s weird that the Warriors are nowhere to be found.