You know the following things, but I’m going to repeat them to you anyway.
- The Golden State Warriors lead the Boston Celtics 3-2 in the NBA Finals. They’re a win away from being champions.
- They’re in the Finals for the sixth time in eight years.
- By the end of tomorrow they might be champions for the fourth time in eight years.
- They’re doing this despite missing the playoffs in each of the last two years.
Lately I’ve been feeling nostalgic. I’ve been feeling thankful for the Dubs.
And if you’re worried that I’m jinxing it by bringing this up before the task is finished ... no! That’s half the point. I don’t want to wait until they’re standing on double decker buses parading through the Bay Area to celebrate them and appreciate them. Even if they lose on Thursday and — gasp! — on Sunday, three of the above bullet points are still true, and it’s worth celebrating, even if a tear drips from your eye as you do so.
None of us could have seen this coming. Not after the decades of Warriors futility that had us all resigned to the fact that excitement was defined by hoping Monta Ellis could score 25, or watching Jason Richardson throw down a reverse dunk, or seeing Larry Hughes get funky with his dribbles, or praying for a good draft pick.
The Warriors weren’t supposed to be this sort of team.
Because this sort of team, to be frank, rarely exists. Six Finals appearances in eight years? When there are 30 teams and superstars bouncing from city to city to play together?
At the risk of sounding like a hater, you’d need only look at the preseason Finals favorites, the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, to see how rare it is to have this sort of sustained success. Those teams won a combined zero postseason games.
That’s not to poke fun at them. It’s to remind you how rare and hard it is to make it this far, let alone time and time again.
The core has been healthy six times in the last eight years. They’ve made the Finals all six times.
This could be the end. The Dubs are very well equipped to keep going — Steph Curry doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon, Draymond Green appears to have plenty left in the tank, Kevon Looney is starting to peak, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole should only get better next year, and Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody will take big steps forward — but again, this is hard. And rare. At some point it’s gong to end, and not necessarily because they fell off.
Don’t assume this is the final run.
But celebrate like it is.
Because in all likelihood, you’ll never root for a better Warriors team than the one you’ve spent the last eight seasons rooting for. And in all likelihood, you’ll never see a better basketball player than Wardell Stephen Curry II don your favorite team’s colors.
This is, quite likely, as good as it gets.
So let’s savor it.