My Dearest #GSWHoops,
Look how far we’ve come, you and I. We’ve been through lows, lows, lows, and recently some highs. No relationship is perfect, but with your 14 game win streak, flowing ball movement, well-branded players and the word “contenders” on the lips of so many previous doubters, things are better than ever. I think it’s important when one reaches a peak in anything, especially in a relationship such as ours, to take a look back at how things came to be. Let’s recall shall we?
It all started on the night I learned that there were other players besides Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls in the league. After feasting on Roscoe’s chicken and waffles, my father and I completed our evening in Oakland by watching you play at Oracle arena for my first ever professional basketball game. Muggsy Bogues brought his role in SpaceJam to life playing point guard against the space-themed and arguably Monstars-looking Houston Rockets. You lost the basketball game and we lost the keys to our minivan that night. However, you did win something very special: my heart.
While I did care for you then, I wasn’t mature enough to appreciate the joys that a relationship between a boy and a basketball team could bring. I missed the special moments of Antawn Jamison’s back-to-back 51 point games, but also the darker times of Latrell Sprewell choking out head coach PJ Carlissimo. Our love came to be when I grew up a little more, at the ripe age of 12, when you drafted the relatable rookie: Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Just like me, Mike was gangly, white, and not very good at basketball. You paired him with fellow white-boy Troy Murphy, who along with notorious nice guy Antawn Jamison, made us one of the softest teams in the NBA. No one was choking any coaches, but the team wasn’t winning very many basketball teams either. Just when I thought it was time to forget about you, you changed. You gave me something to believe in.
Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Jason Richardson, and the Benjamin Button of basketball, Andris Biedrins, who got worse and worse as his career went on, joined the team. In 2008, the peak of the “We Believe” era and the handsome/younger Brad Pitt stage of Biedrins’ career, we had our first time together. We made the playoffs. Like most first times, you didn’t last long. The incredible thrill of upsetting the Dallas Mavericks was followed by an admirable, but futile effort to continue when we faced the music together against a superior Utah Jazz team.
As quickly as you changed for the better, things went south again. After setting the record for most wins without making the playoffs, our players left and we were mired in futility. Don Nelson led teams full of NBA Development League players to mediocre seasons where the flashy scoring of Monta Ellis was the only thing to look forward to. Times were dark. I watched you struggle while the beau of my college peers, the Los Angeles Lakers, won championships amidst my envious glances at TNT broadcasts.
This time you weren’t wallowing in your sadness though. Our new owner and savior, Joe Lacob, was using this downtime productively. You hit homeruns with the high draft picks from low win seasons to grab future superstars like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. You made one controversial move in trading away Monta for an Australian guy with a broken Ankle, and another in firing Mark Jackson in favor of the unproven Steve Kerr. While Jackson helped you find religion, Kerr has helped you find a functioning offensive scheme.
In this new era, everything is coming up roses. I watched in person with my roommate as you won a playoff game against his favorite team. I brag to my friends about a backcourt that was officially proclaimed as the top in the NBA and our position atop of the power rankings week after week. I’m in love with our new coach. I’m in love with our players and their chemistry. I’m in love with this franchise. Most of all, I’m in love with the CoCo.