Category Archives: Golden State Warriors

Grappling With The Decision of Baron Davis- As Compared to a Dirty Ex-Girlfriend

I, like many Warrior fans, have done some soul searching over the past week since learning that the talent of our team will not be returning to Oakland next year.  I, like many Warrior fans, are wondering what to do with my Baron Davis jersey.  I, like many Warrior fans, am contemplating whether the photo of Diddy pooping on Kirlenko retains the right to rest on my wall, or if it should reside next to my toilet to save the day when I run out of toilet paper.

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Baron Davis dunking on KirilenkoFor those of you who do not know what I am talking about, I will lead you through the 5 step thought process most Warrior fans have gone through in the past week.  It is eerily similar to when you break up with a dirty, super hot, whorish girlfriend.

 

1)      Denial.  The immediate thought I had when headed south on the 101 was “this isn’t happening.  Baron said he wasn’t going to opt of his contract.  He told Nellie he’d be back.  He told his teammates he’d be back.  How could he lie to baby faced Monta?  He’ll be back.  I hope.”

 

Comparison to dirty, super hot ex-girlfriend:  She’ll be back.  I’ll wake up in the morning and I’ll have this warm little cuddly thing neatly tucked in between the sheets.  This breakup is just like the last tussle we had.

 

2)      Questioning.  “How did this happen?  I thought Baron Davis loved G-State.  I thought after all these years, he finally found a coach that allowed him to shoot threes at will. Fans worshipped his beard. The team made him their captain.  What could the Warriors have done to prevent it?  Was it Mullin?”  (The blank, empty feelings start to seep in…) “remember when he dunked on Kirelenko…or hit that half court buzzer beater at halftime…or hit that game winning three against LA…”

 

Comparison to that whorish, so hot ex-girlfriend that is now being desperately missed: “Damn I miss her.  Is she really going/gone?  I did all that I could, didn’t I?  I put up with those stupid shopping sprees.  I didn’t complain, that much, when she was too tired to give it up.  WTF?  Remember that time when she went down on me in the laundry room at that party…or that time she went down on me in my dad’s hot tub…or that time she went down on me with ice in her mouth…”

 

3)      Anger.  “How could Baron leave the Warriors for the shitty Clippers!  They suck balls!  His knees are going to blow anyway!  What an asshole for not giving Mullin some fucking notice!  Selfish dickhead prick!  Always was a premadonna!  Him and his big ass teeth!  We’re better off without him anyway!!!”  (Promptly rip down Kirlenko posters…)

 

Comparison to that ugly bitch: Fuck that whore!  How could she go down on that fuckface who wears fluorescent color polos and eats sushi?  That bitch!  She gave shitty head anyway!  Her and her wack ass weave!  I’m better off without her!”  (Promptly take down pictures of that two-bit slut resting on nightstand.)

 

4)      Acceptance. “Ok.  Maybe he’s better off in Los Angeles.  He likes to make movies and he’s from LA, so it’s good that he’s home.  And he is on the Clippers, so it’s not like he’ll be that happy playing.  The Warriors will manage.  Maybe the Warriors will pick up Elton Brand.  Yeah, that’d really piss the Clippers off.”

 

Comparison to that girl you used to date: “Ok.  Maybe she’s better off without me, and maybe I’m better off without her.  It’s not like we were super compatible.  At least now she is in New York modeling clothes and doing what she really wants.  And at least that way she is like, 2,578 miles away from my house.”

 

5)      Revenge.  “What should I do with this Baron Davis jersey…I definitely don’t want it hanging next to Joe Montana and my Barry Bonds jersey…I know!  When the Los Angeles Clippers visit Oakland for the first time, I will orchestrate, and promote, a giveaway night!  Warrior fans who no longer have a need to hold on to their Baron Davis jersey can bring their jersey to the game and give it away, or give it back to Baron during pre-game!  That’s genius!” (any fans who would like to participate in Baron Davis throwback jersey night, please comment below and we’ll get this thing going.)

 

Comparison to that girl who is dead to you, but still is damn fine: “Remember that fluorescent polo shirt wearing dude she hooked up with…well, his ex-girlfriend was giving you the eye at the bar…make sure it gets back to your ex-girlfriend if you hook up with her…continue to do well at everything, just enough so she wants you back…then when she contacts you just to say “hi,” tell her you have something for her…then give her back her shit.”                   

 

Side note: During the construction of this article, I facebooked stalked my ex-girlfriend once.  Warrior fans will find themselves doing the same thing- stalking the Clipper box scores starting this November.     

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And with the 14th pick, the Warriors select…

Today is the most anticipated day we, as Warrior fans, often have to look forward to.  In years past, it’s the only day we have to look forward to.  It’s the day that we pour our hopes and dreams into some soon to be millionaire rookie.  It’s the day where management makes mistakes (see Todd Fuller), or drafts someone like Ellis, Biendris, or Arenas.

 

Today is like Groundhogs Day.  Will Mullin be afraid of the team’s shadow and remain with the same starting five, or will there be some crazy changes (see Richardson for Wright).  Will the upcoming season be much anticipated, or will it slowly dissipate from June 26th to April ‘09.  Will Baron be back?  Monta, Andris; will they see a big payday in the near future?  Could we get a big name, or at least, a big rebounder? 

 

It all begins tonight at Madison Square Garden, with the final slot in the lottery, the 14th pick. 

 

My hunch is that something big will go down.

 

Three scenarios:

 

(Warriors trade down, take Chase Budinger with the 21st pick.  They get cash and Marcus Banks, somehow)

 

(Warriors trade the 14th pick and Brandon Wright to the Bobcats for Jason Richardson.  Mullin, in a rare moment of emotion, says he’s sorry in a live broadcast from the Bay Bridge.)

 

(Warriors, with the 14th pick, select the biggest, quickest guy in the draft to collect offensive rebounds from the hundreds of ill-advised 3 pointers that will undoubtedly be launched at will- all season long.)

 

 

 

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We Believed

Down nine with a minute to go against Denver, we believed.  When Utah trounced the Nuggets, we believed the demoralizing would continue when the Rockets went to the Rockies.  Even when T-Mac and Houston faltered, we believed the world has seen crazier things happen, and that an eight seed for the Warriors was still a possibility.

 

Monday night wouldn’t be the end to the season, we believed.  There seemed like there was a gremlin swatting away the shots from the Suns as balls rattled in and out.  Biendris swallowed boards like he was Moby Dick and the loose basketballs were the wayward sailors.  Austin Croshere played like there was no tomorrow, which for him, there might not be. 

 

Yes, we Warrior fans believed until the last minute of our squandered nine point lead that another miracle would take place, but it was not to be.  The horn sounded and the season was over, with Don Nelson being the first to enter the tunnel headed to the locker room.

 

“But why didn’t Baron Davis play?” some Warrior fans squealed during the post-game exit. 

 

I don’t know.  Maybe Baron told Nellie during halftime that he lost the lead role in his next movie. Or maybe Baron brought out a razor at halftime and threatened to shave his beard if he didn’t get a contract extension.    

 

In reality, Baron Davis may have been the only Warrior- player, fan, or otherwise- who did not believe Monday night.  He moved like someone drunk off tequila in the first quarter, lackadaisically throwing up shots that barely caught rim.  When benched for most of the second quarter, he diligently sat close to coach, towel over his knees, waiting for the call. 

 

The call still didn’t come midway through the third quarter, and during a timeout, Baron slithered between Chris Watson and Matt Barnes at the end of the bench.  The fourth quarter came and Baron didn’t know what to do with himself as he saw an inspired team come back from eighteen down to go up nine.  Healthy all season, he hadn’t found himself on the bench this much since, well, ever.  He threw himself on the floor like his counterpart Steve Nash did at the opposite end of the floor, except his reason for being on the hardwood was completely different than the man who beat him out for an all-star spot.

 

Forty-eight, possibly forty-nine wins is nothing to look down upon- it’s something to be damn proud of.  We haven’t had that many wins since Run TMC in the early nineties.  The Warriors still made playoff history- they became the team that won the most games but still missed the playoffs.  There are plenty of positives to draw upon this year.  As a Warrior fan that grew up in the “Skeptic Era” (’93-’06) I’d go as far as saying we may not see another year like it for quite some time.

 

The one thing that we as fans can be proud of this year is we believed.  Now we have to resort to our old ways by throwing a draft party and believe that a late lottery pick can add some value to our team. 

 

In with Budinger, out with Bellinelli.               

 

 

 

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Initiation to the Real World

Last night I went to the Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns basketball game. This post is not about basketball and the millions players make, nor how it was very nice of Mary Gilbaugh to provide me with complementary tickets, but rather about the initiation college graduates have when entering the “real,” working world.

Brandon Wright around this time last year was the most recognized figure on the North Carolina campus. His lanky six foot nine frame and fifteen points per game scoring average was the subject of many basketball commentators praises as NBA scouts drooled at the opportunity of drafting him. Buying into the hype, Brandon decided to forgo his final three years of college and go to the NBA.

With the third overall selection in the draft, Brandon went to the Golden State Warriors, after parting ways with J Rich.

Being a huge Golden State Warriors fan and Bay Area native, I have had the privilege of enjoying the best year the team has had since the ’91-’92 season. I have also seen very little of Brandon (the Mr. Wright is completely unnecessary considering he is three years younger than I). He has averaged about four points a game while appearing in half the games this season, with the other half being spent on the bench.

Last night Brandon did make an appearance in the game, albeit for about six seconds. As he joyously responded to the call to put him in the game, he was briefly corralled by the head coach before reporting to the scorers table. Brandon’s first impact on the game was immediately fouling Shaquille O’Neal, which the big man did not take a liking to. For a minute I thought Shaq was going to break Brandon’s braces with one swift jab. With that, Brandon was quickly taken back out of the game and took a seat on the bench, where he would not move from for the remainder of the contest.

What Brandon did for the Warriors is what an entry-level college grad would do for his first employer. Fouling Shaq was like getting a cup of coffee, or washing the boss’s car. Both are meager tasks only assigned to rookies, for no other good reason other than to give the message of “welcome to the real world. If you think you’re going to own this business in six months you’re wrong. Now take a seat back on the bench/cubicle.”

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Captain Jack

The Golden State Warriors in game entertainment crew shines the spotlight on San Francisco Giants center fielder Randy Winn.  Seated a few rows off the north end of the court, the Santa Clara native is asked which player he would like to see a highlight reel for.  Accepting the remote from the peppy hype man, Randy settles on a name and presses select.  With that, heads direct to the video board to the mean mugging, tattooed arms crossing, Stephen Jackson.

Stephen Jackson, acquired mid-year last season from the Pacers in a deal that involved eight players, has given the Warriors, and their faithful following, hope.  It started last year when the Warriors snuck into the playoffs on the last day of the season, breaking a 13 year absence from the post season.  It continued when the small ball “midgets,” as TNT commentator Charles Barkley called them during halftime of Game 2, pulled off arguably the biggest upset in NBA playoff history by knocking off the 67 win Mavericks in 6 games.   Hope has come out to play Monday when the Phoenix Suns pulled into Oakland.

In the first half, Stephen has drained threes, grabbed boards, stood at half court and flapped his albatross like arms to fire up the crowd.  His 20 points blend in nicely with the Warriors 72 first half
points, and are a big reason why Golden State has played out of their minds to lead by 11.

The Warriors are 5-7 this year, but the record is deceiving.  And there’s a reason for that.  Stephen Jackson shot a gun five times in the air outside a strip club after being hit by a car, landing him 100 hours of community service for felony criminal wrecklessness and a seven game suspension from the NBA front office.  The Warriors lost six of the seven games without their captain.  This incident, coupled by the forgettable fight Stephen had as a Pacer which landed him a thirty game suspension, landed Jackson a reputation as a gangster.  A bad boy.  Uncontrollable, considering that he came in a
fifth for most technical fouls last year.

Knowing damn well what people think of him, Stephen vowed that this will be the first year people know him for how he is on the court. “I’m going to be smarter about what I say. I’m not just going to get tech fouls for the hell of it. When I’m focused and not screamin’ at the refs and taking all the energy to the negative, I play better.”
So far, he has been a changed man.  He has been a different player.  Don Nelson, who definitely isn’t in his first rodeo with his 29th NBA season as a head coach, called Stephen Jackson, not franchise player Baron Davis, the emotional leader of the Warriors team.

The Warriors are making a run without All-Stars Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire on the floor, who are resting on the bench..  The Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni, who could easily pass as a used car salesman, calls a timeout in an attempt to stymie the up-tempo game.  A sweaty Stephen Jackson trots back to the bench like a jubilant little leaguer that has appeased his parents.  A teenage towel boy greets him a white cloth to wipe his permanently solemn game face. Before heading back to the huddle, where coach Don Nelson begins to draw up plays, Jack, as the wildly enthusiastic team dentist seated next me likes to call him, throws up a fist pound to the towel boy. Hesitantly, the boy throws the pound back and locks closed fists with Jackson.

Everyone is a part of the team around Oracle Arena, and it’s Stephen who has taken on the extra duty to make it feel that way.  He joins the huddle with his mean mugging, NBA sweatband adored face.
Lips naturally pursed, the immediate impression is that he’s too cool for school.

In fact, Stephen was too cool for school.  He originally prepped at Lincoln High School in Port Arthur, Texas before transferring to high school basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.  The high school All-American was ruled academically ineligible following graduation, preventing him from fulfilling his commitment to the University of Arizona Wildcats, and instead led Stephen to the NBA draft.  He was selected 43rd overall in the 1997 NBA Draft by tonight’s opponent, the Phoenix Suns, but was released before seeing any NBA action.  It would be three years until he would return to the league.  In those three years, Stephen traveled all over the world in pursuit of a basketball dream.  He would play in Canada, Australia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic before landing a chance to join the New Jersey Nets in 2000.    A successful rookie campaign landed him a spot with the Spurs, where he helped win a NBA championship as the team’s third leading scorer.  He signed a 6 year, 38.3 million dollar contract as a free agent in the summer of 2003, joining the atrocious Atlanta Hawks, before being traded to the Indiana Pacers for Sixth Man runner-up Al Harrington.  Of course, this wouldn’t be the last trade involving these two names.       Monta Ellis, the Warriors soft-spoken, Mississippi native shooting guard is taking over.  He has just scored the last 15 points for the Warriors, all of them coming on two-time MVP Steve Nash.  Again D’Antoni tries to derail the run with a timeout, but it is all a party in the Warriors huddle.  Monta, who is 22 and in his third year after earning the NBA’s most improved player award in his second season, giggles as Stephen Jackson comes over for some inspirational, testosterone induced yelling.  Monta looks at Stephen like he’s the cool uncle that comes around on Christmas.

Stephen is somewhat of an unorthodox player.  His shot looks like the makings of a pump fake that continues into a stationary jumper, where the soles of his shoes look like goo is making them stick to the hardwood.  In the times that Don Nelson has him bring the ball up the court, he dribbles like he will bounce it off his foot at any moment.  The way he runs is more like a north to south shuffle.  But, he makes it all work, pulling off 21.6 points and 5.6 rebounds a game with the grace of a giraffe, and the smarts of a squeaky wheel.
A group of six year old boys adorned in Warriors garb outstretch their arms and scream from the third row.  They are competing to be the winners of the Stephen Jackson’s sweatband giveaway, a post game ritual of his that goes undocumented.  One orange, sweaty headband is flung towards one of the boys, followed by two NBA wrists bands as the buzzer sounds.  Fox Sports Net nabs him for an interview and the PA announcer switches the stadium sound system to the FSN microphone, turning
what Jackson has to say into a public speech for the thousands that stick around after the game.

Shawn Marion walks into the tunnel leading to the locker room, looking up at the jumbo-tron, shaking his head in disbelief at the 129-112 final score.  Mid-shake, Shawn’s side to side movement of his head turns from disbelief to indifference.  “It’s November, it’s early,” you could almost see Shawn reassuring himself about getting waxed from start to finish by the Warriors.  “It doesn’t matter.”

After posing for a picture with the fan of the game- in which he leaned in and kissed her on the cheek- Stephen gives his swooping signature on a few leather basketballs and puts his hands up to his ears to the hundreds of appreciative fans that clamor for a picture as he enters the tunnel.  The cheering continues for hero of the night Monta Ellis, who trails Stephen like a faithful golden retriever into the locker room with a career high 31 points.

In Captain Jack, and his band of 6-7 Warriors, I trust.

 

 

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