Warriors, Are We Breaking Up?
Remember when that steady hookup of yours got that new job in San Francisco and then scored an apartment in the Richmond, leaving you behind in the East Bay? Remember how you both swore you would still hang out all the time? After all, you’re not going to let a couple miles of filthy bay water keep you two apart! Those promises were all well and good, but when was the last time you two actually got together? It’s a classic story, only mine isn’t about a person, it’s about a sports team. My beloved Golden State Warriors want to move to SF, and I have to say, it feels a bit like being broken up with.
While the NBA finals are over, and we won’t be seeing much action until November, Warriors fans who reside in Oakland like myself still have a lot to worry about this off-season: Is the team going to move to San Francisco? There are a lot of good reasons for a move, but would it be doing right by the fans? Why are they wearing soccer jerseys now? Am I still going to be a fan if they move?
My beloved Golden State Warriors want to move to SF, and I have to say, it feels a bit like being broken up with.
Back in April, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob announced a plan to move the team to a brand new 18,000 seat, $700 million stadium in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood by the end of 2017 that would be “second to none.” The move is financially a no-brainer. Sports teams make a large portion of their money off corporate sponsors, and a move to SF could draw sponsorship from even more companies. It would also park the stadium in a city that’s known to be flush with money and a fan base that clearly loves their sports teams (last season the Giants sold 99% of their home game tickets, which are priced at $39+). On the other hand, the Warriors current home of Oracle Arena is in what you could charitably refer to as a “sketchy neighborhood,” and while the attached BART station makes commuting to games safe, it leaves no foot traffic for neighboring businesses like restaurants and bars.
A shiny new SF stadium would be great for the team, but how does it affect the loyal Oakland fans who cheered the team through a 15-year playoff drought and rallied behind their improbable “We Believe” run in 2007 to turn “Roaracle Arena” into the NBA’s loudest home court? After years of patient loyalty, Dubs fans have finally been rewarded with a playoff caliber team and a legitimate all-star player in Stephen Curry. How will these fans react to “the bay’s team” turning their back on “the city by the city by the bay” just as they smell success?
While the name of “Golden State” has always kept the team’s true location ambivalent, it is Oakland more than SF that has seen them through their many rough patches. Oakland has earned this team’s affection, and it’s sad to see a city’s years of loyalty discarded for profit. Oakland is a true basketball city, from legendary pick-up games at Mosswood Park to producing some of the NBA’s brightest stars in Bill Russell, Jason Kidd (by way of Alameda), Gary Payton, and newcomer Damian Lillard (to name a few). San Francisco can claim very few stars, although that doesn’t keep them from laying claim to Kidd and Russell on Wikipedia – but we know the truth on this side of the water.
The people of Oakland seem to be in less of an uproar about this move than they were when the A’s threatened a move to Fremont, which prompted the “stAy” campaign. Well, I for one am going to make a stink. I want my Warriors in my “toWn” (catchphrase a work in progress). When Stephen Curry brings a championship trophy home, I want that parade to be down Telegraph Avenue, not Market Street! I want those players hoisted on the shoulders of the rough and tumble Oakland fans who carried them through the embarrassing 1990s.
Oakland has earned this team’s affection, and it’s sad to see a city’s years of loyalty discarded for profit.
I realize that one fan’s declaration of annoyance will not dissuade the team’s managers now that the scent of the city’s economic boom has grabbed them by the nose, so all I ask is this: Be good to this team, San Francisco. Cheer them on, sell out their games, and for Christ’s sake, bring a damn championship home. It’s been 39 years. I’ll miss the pride of having my team in my city, but after all this time I can’t switch teams, I’ve spent too many years coming up with reasons to hate all the others.
Time to suck it up and enjoy having breakup sex with my team for two more seasons. I’ll miss you, Warriors, but you’re going on to bigger and better things. We’ll totally hang out, like, all the time. I’m not going to let a couple miles of water keep us apart!