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40 Reasons Why We Love the Warriors

They’re not just the best team in the NBA: We found 40 other reasons—from the team’s surprising foodie to the scoop on its long-lost mascot—to love the Golden State Warriors.


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Portrait by James Carrière

[1–8] Harrison Barnes Reps the East Bay's Food Scene

Small forward Harrison Barnes knows that San Francisco is recognized for its restaurants, but that Oakland is really foodie heaven.

“When my friends come out to visit and say, ‘I want to go to San Francisco to eat,’ I say, ‘Dude, there is great food here in Oakland,’ ” says Barnes.

Here are eight of his favorite places to take out-of-town guests.

Breakfast: “I like Lois the Pie Queen [(510) 658-5616] or Brown Sugar Kitchen [brownsugarkitchen.com] or Ole’s Waffle Shop [(510) 522-8108], which is in Alameda, but it’s also very good.”

Lunch: “In the afternoon, I like Belly [bellyuptown.com] on San Pablo Avenue. That’s definitely my go-to place.”

Dinner: “I would take them for dinner to Ozumo [ozumooakland.com], Picán [picanrestaurant.com], or Burma Superstar [burmasuperstar.com], which is one of Coach Kerr’s favorites as well.”

Late night/anytime: “After a game, my go-to spot is Mua [muaoakland.com].”

Food trucks: “I grew up in Iowa, and you can’t get that in Iowa. When I came out to California and saw that food truck scene where you could go and try five different cuisines at one location, I thought it was just so cool.” 


 

By Jim Spencer

[9] Curry World

Steph Curry is the man—both in the Bay Area and beyond.
The Warriors’ superstar guard hits clutch threes and reigns as MVP. Basically, he’s the best basketball player on Earth. And his number 30 jersey is a top seller in 38 out of 50 states—selling more shirts than LeBron James or any other player in the NBA.


 

[10]

But Curry manages to stay humble.
NBA legend Reggie Miller told The New Yorker that Curry proves “you don’t have to be an asshole to be successful” (suggesting that both Miller and Michael Jordan weren’t as nice as they could have been during their heyday).


 

By Shannon Taylor

[11]

Fairyland was renamed for a day after the Currys’ cool kid.
That’s right: As the Warriors were celebrating their championship last June, Children’s Fairyland temporarily changed its sign to say “Rileyland.” Curry tells Diablo he loves taking his three-year-old daughter to the Oakland park.


 

By Leslie Eddy

[12]

Curry’s better half blazes her own trail.
Steph’s wife, Ayesha, has built a solid brand with her cooking and parenting blog, littlelightsofmine.com. She’s released a stylish apron line and a series of olive oils, and her first cookbook, The Seasoned Life, drops in September.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drake // George Pimentel/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images North America

[13]

Curry knows how to rub elbows.
He’s been known to show up at an East Bay In-N-Out Burger at 1 a.m. with rapper Drake or carry boxer Andre Ward’s championship belt before a fight at Oracle Arena.


 

[14]

The Curry’s eldest daughter has become a red-hot brand.
Riley landed a modeling gig with moccasin company Freshly Picked. (The commercial appeal runs in the family: Steph appeared in a Burger King commercial when he was eight years old.)


 

@ayeshacurry

[15]

Steph and Ayesha are social media superstars.
The couple keep it down to earth for their followers on Twitter (where Steph has more than four million) and Instagram. One example:
Ayesha’s tweet, “I still get butterflies when I see @StephenCurry30 number pop up on my phone .  .  .  It’s the little things,” melted the hearts of 20,000 followers.


 

By Rachel Capil Photography

[16]

You might run into the Currys around town.  
After the Currys’ second daughter, Ryan, was born last July, the family moved to a larger home in the East Bay burbs. They bought a high-tech $3.2 million home in Walnut Creek in November, and have been spotted strolling through downtown and at Neiman Marcus.


 

By Jim Spencer

[17] Bogut’s Choice

Andrew Bogut calls Walnut Creek home.
The team’s seven-foot-tall center also bought a home in the Creek. “I was drawn there because of the weather and the outdoors options, as it tends to be a bit warmer than it does on the Oakland side of the hills,” says Bogut. “Walnut Creek also has a great mix of shopping and dining options. I like going to Sasa for sushi.” He also drives over to Lafayette to eat at Artisan Bistro.


 

 

[18]

Draymond Green doubles down on triple-doubles.
Green broke the Warriors’ team record for triple-doubles in a season when he did it for the 10th time on February 3.


 

Cal Athletics

[19]

The Warriors have ties to higher education.
One of the reasons Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr took the job in Oakland over a gig with the New York Knicks was that his son Nick was transferring to UC Berkeley, where he plays basketball. Kerr’s daughter, Maddy, is also a Bear, and plays varsity volleyball.


 

By Jim Spencer

[20] Klay’s Faves

Curry’s Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, has also embraced the East Bay.
He can frequently be found walking his dog at Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley, dining at Montecatini Ristorante in Walnut Creek, and golfing at Ruby Hill in Pleasanton.
Q: What else do you do when you’re not playing basketball?
A: I’ll go out in Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Francisco. That’s what’s so cool about the area. Every 20 minutes, you’re in a different spot.
Q: Are you a Bay Area guy now?
A: Definitely. This is my fifth year, and I consider myself a Bay Area resident. I know a lot of great spots to eat and enjoy nature. This is home for me. —Ian A. Stewart


 

Jack Arent/National Basketball Association/Getty Images

[21]

If you can’t get a ticket to a Warriors game, the farm team is nearby.
The Splash Brothers’ brothers, Mychel Thompson and Seth Curry, played together last season for the Santa Cruz Warriors’ farm team, which won the D-League championship. You can nab tickets to watch upcoming talent for a fraction of the price of seats at Oracle. santacruz.dleague.nba.com.


 

[22]

The Team Gives Back.
The Warriors Community Foundation, in partnership with the Good Tidings Foundation, has refurbished more than 40 basketball courts in East Bay parks from Oakland to Oakley. goodtidings.org.


 

NBAE/Getty Images/Courtesy of Golden State Warriors

[23]

Curry is the reigning king of threes.
On February 25, Curry set an NBA record for making a three-point shot in 128 consecutive games. Two nights later, he broke his own record for most threes in a season—with 24 games left to play.


 

Harrison Parmes // By Samantha Schneider

[24]

The team tastes delicious.
The Warriors have inspired hoagies at local sandwich chain Ike’s Place. The Danville, Oakland, and Walnut Creek locations offer a GS Warriors sandwich (avocado, mushroom, Swiss, vegan turkey, veggie bacon), and Walnut Creek makes the Harrison Parmes (fried chicken, marinara, provolone). Concord and Emeryville have the Steph #CurryOne (provolone, turkey, yellow BBQ sauce), but with Curry calling Walnut Creek home, we’re sure his sandwich (which you can order off-menu) will be on the board soon. ilikeikesplace.com.


 

 

Tim Hardaway // Ken Levine/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images North America

[25]

The team makes dreams come true.
Contra Costa’s Theo Robertson gets to live out a childhood fantasy—almost. Hip injuries cut short Robertson’s playing days after a standout career at De La Salle High and Cal, but today, he is living his NBA dream as a Warriors’ video coordinator.

“My mom took me to my first game when I was four or five, and I went to some games with my friend Jordan Wilkes, whose dad played in the NBA, and he’d get us these great seats,” says Robertson. As a boy, he idolized the Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin team of the early 1990s. But even that great Run TMC team can’t compare with this year’s Warriors, who Robertson says are the Bay Area’s greatest champs.

“What really resonates with fans is the character we have on this team. There’s a ton of fan support, and for me, being from this area, I always say it’s about time. The Niners had their run, and the Giants are great. But for fans to be able to get behind this team and to see the whole city light up—I’m really ecstatic.” —Ian A. Stewart


 

NBAE/Getty Images

[26]

The players are perfect.
Warriors forward Green had his second “perfect” triple-double (at least 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in one game, while hitting every shot he took from the floor), during a game in New York in January. Green is the first person to achieve this feat since the legendary center Wilt Chamberlain, who had three.


 

 

By Ryan Snook

[27] The Long-Lost Mascot

The former mascot still gets the crowd going.
Although Thunder, the former mascot of the Warriors, has long been retired, the man behind the costume still entertains audiences as a stand-up comic. Sadiki Fuller, who hung up the costume six years before Thunder rode off to mascot heaven in 2008, remembers his time with the Warriors fondly.

Q: How did you end up as the Warriors’ mascot?
A: I knew the Warriors had a bad experience their one year in San Jose with a mascot called Berserker and didn’t want to do one in Oakland, but I reached out and had a lot of things going for me: They had a new logo, I came from an acrobatic sports team, and I was hungry. Four months later, I had the job.

Q: What was it like being Thunder?
A: When I first got the job in 1997, there were so many people that didn’t know we had an NBA team in the Bay Area because we weren’t winning. From ’97 to 2002, Thunder was maybe one of our most positive things if you were a fan. I put my all into it.

Q: Do you mention Thunder in your stand-up routine?
A: I talk about it a little bit, but so much of comedy is being self-deprecating, and it’s hard for people to feel bad for you when you talk about hanging out with NBA players. But if I’m in the Bay Area and I mention being Thunder, there’s an applause break.

Q: What should the Warriors next mascot be?
A: We don’t need a mascot: We’ve got Steph Curry. For him to be as great as he is and as humble, we don’t need a mascot until Steph retires. But when we do get a mascot, they better let me train him. —Kristen Haney


 

By Ryan Snook

[28–30] Fan Raves

The fans are loyal.
We asked some of the team’s longstanding season ticket holders for reasons why this team is so special.

Warriors fans finally got to see a championship series on their home court. “I’ve been going to see the Warriors play since they moved to the Bay Area, and I went to all the playoff games in 1975, the only other season that the team won a championship in the Bay Area. The Warriors played at the Cow Palace because the Ice Capades were booked in the Oakland Arena. The people booking the arena must not have realized the team might need the venue.” —Jeff Ryan, Danville, season ticket holder since 1969

Warriors tickets make killer Christmas presents. “There were five of us who would divide the tickets when we first got them. The other four dropped out within the first 10 years. I held on, and everybody wants to be a part of the group now. I never sell the tickets. Sometimes, I give them as Christmas presents. It’s a nice gift these days: four floor seats to a game.” —Paul Rago, Danville, season ticket holder since 1986

The team has winning ownership. “When [majority owner] Joe Lacob bought the team, it became apparent pretty quickly that he was doing the right thing. I can speak with pride that I own these tickets because the Warriors set such a wonderful example of how to build an organization the right way.”
—Jim McKnight, Alamo, season ticket holder since 1990


 

Courtesy of Golden State Warriors

[31]

The team’s GM is a bookworm.
Bob Myers assembled one of the greatest teams in NBA history, but he isn’t just a sports geek. He never listens to sports radio—he prefers NPR—and loves nonfiction history books, which he donates to Lafayette Library’s bookstore.


 

 

 

 

By Jim Spencer

[32]

The team has kept its voice.
Orinda’s Jim Barnett has been calling Warriors games for 31 years. Over that time, he’s seen the community’s love for the team grow and spill over onto him.

“I’ll tell you: I went to a doctor’s appointment today in Concord, and the nurse says, ‘Hey, I watched you on TV last night!’ Then, coming out of the office, an elderly gentleman comes in and goes, ‘You’re Jim Barnett!’ Even in the parking lot, a guy stops in his car and says, ‘Great game!’ I’ve had people I’ve known for 40 years come up to me to talk Warriors and say, ‘I love your broadcast,’ and I’m going, ‘You know I’ve been doing this for 30 years, right?’ I swear, it’s 10 times what it was 10 years ago.”

Q: So how’d you get your start on TV?
A:
It was 1975, and the Warriors were in the playoffs playing the Suns. Bill Russell was supposed to do color with Dick Stockton, but he had weather issues in Seattle and couldn’t make it. I’d just finished my season playing with the Knicks, and came back to Orinda, and the Warriors’ assistant GM, Hal Chiles, who still lives in Danville, knew me because he was my PR director when I was in college at Oregon. So he said, ‘Let’s get Jim, I bet he’s home.’ He called me at 3 p.m., and I came in and did the game, and they liked me.

Q: How has calling the games changed over the years?
A:
Everything now has exploded. Sports have become so much bigger than they were when I was playing. When I started, it was a little more pure; there wasn’t as much hyperbole. I was able to talk about basketball in a more old-fashioned manner. Now you have more fans looking for quick hits, so the way they view the game and how I explain it is different. You don’t have as much time—there are more sponsors; it’s more entertainment.

Q: And you’ve lived in Orinda this whole time, right?
A: I love Orinda; my daughter lives in Lafayette. I got traded here in the summer of 1971 and I couldn’t afford to buy a house, so my wife and I rented an apartment in Moraga. I was making $55,000 a year. In June of ’72, we bought a house in Orinda for $49,000. I remember the best houses then—the 2,200 square-foot, three-bedrooms—were maybe $75K. Now I wish I’d bought one of those.  —Ian A. Stewart


 

[33]

The team can turn your kid into a pro.
The Warriors’ popular basketball camps for girls and boys have sessions at many East Bay locations, such as Danville’s Diablo Vista Middle School and the Ultimate Fieldhouse in Walnut Creek. Last year, two former campers—Will Cherry and Tyler Johnson—made it to the NBA. warriorscamps.com.


 

David Dow/National Basketball Association/NBAE

[34] Family Ties

Winning runs in the team’s blood.
Only four basketball families have father-son championships—and the Warriors have connections to all of them.

Rick Barry (Warriors) and Brent Barry (Spurs); Bill Walton (Trail Blazers, Celtics) and Luke Walton (Lakers as a player, Warriors as an assistant coach); Mychal Thompson (Lakers) and Klay Thompson (Warriors); Matt Guokas Sr. (Philadelphia Warriors) and Matt Guokas Jr. (76ers).


 

[35]

The Warriors are good for local business.
Walnut Creek’s Pinky’s Pizza sees a 61 percent increase in business on Monday nights, when a Warriors game is on television.


 

Courtesy of Renaissance Clubsport Walnut Creek

[36]

You can watch the Warriors’ dancers ace their moves.
The Warriors Dance Team logs up to nine hours a week practicing their routines at Renaissance ClubSport in Walnut Creek.


 

[37]

The team’s co-owner has the golden touch.
Peter Guber is the chairman of Dick Clark Productions—which produces the Golden Globe and American Music Awards shows—and the chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment. His films have earned more than 50 Oscar nominations.


 

NBAE/Getty Images

[38]

The team hangs with President Obama.
The Warriors visited the White House, giving a jersey with the number 44 to Obama. The team also offered to sign the president to a 10-day contract when he’s done in D.C. Obama had some nice words for the team: “They’re the kind of people you want representing a city, representing the NBA, and the kind of people you want our kids to be rooting for.”


 

By Jim Spencer

[39]

Past Warriors stars have huge hearts.
Drafted by the Warriors in 1997, Adonal Foyle spent 10 of his 13 pro seasons with the Oakland team and currently serves as the Warriors’ community ambassador, representing the team at events and chatting postgame on ABC-7 News. The Orinda resident is much loved for his work with nonprofits, including the two that he founded: Democracy Matters, a nonpartisan organization that gets college students interested in politics; and the Kerosene Lamp Foundation, which helps at-risk youth. He also works with children in his native St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2009. Foyle will appear at the Walnut Creek Library’s Author’s Gala on April 16 to promote his book, Winning the Money Game: Lessons Learned from the Financial Fouls of Athletes. —Susan Safipour


 

[40]

The team knows how to put together a winning streak.
The Warriors won an NBA record 24 games before the first loss this season. On March 7, the team set another NBA record with 45 consecutive wins at home.

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