The Gold Standard: Celebrating the Warriors
As the Warriors wrap up their final season in the East Bay—and compete for their third straight NBA championship—we celebrate the ways the team has changed the game and our community.
Draymond Green blocks a shot against the Philadelphia 76ers at the January 31 game in Oakland.
Photo by Noah Graham
East Bay basketball fans have been treated to 47 years of spectacular basketball since the Golden State Warriors moved to Oakland in 1971.
Well, maybe not all 47 years have been spectacular. The team’s only NBA championship prior to 2015 came during the 1974–75 season, and their devoted fans suffered through many losing campaigns. But, man, have the past five years been great.
The recent Warriors teams have been as good as (and often better than) any in league history, winning three NBA championships and shooting for a fourth this year. They’ve made Oakland the epicenter of the basketball universe, with a lineup of superstars carefully curated by general manager (and East Bay native) Bob Myers.
Just as the team attempts to reach next-level success—not even Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls or Shaquille O’Neal’s Los Angeles Lakers won four titles in five seasons—the Warriors are preparing to bid farewell to their East Bay home court. Next season, they will christen the snazzy new Chase Center, a privately funded arena in San Francisco.
Before we all have to pay a bridge toll to get to Warriors games, Diablo wants to celebrate the impact this franchise has had on our community. Go Dubs!
The best defensive player in the world talks team chemistry, the value of sneakers, and why Alamo boasts the best climate in the Bay.
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has been a key component of the team’s stunning success over the past six seasons. A second-round draft pick in 2012, Green made his mark with the team right away as the Warriors reached the playoffs in 2013 and 2014. His breakout year was 2015, when he helped the team win its first NBA championship since 1975.
Since then, Green has become a legitimate superstar, earning three All-Star Game appearances, two more NBA titles, a Defensive Player of the Year Award, and an Olympic gold medal. When he’s not contributing to Warriors wins, Green enjoys a quiet life in Alamo with his young children, Draymond Jr. and Kyla, and his fiancée, Hazel Renee. The Warriors star was thrilled to sing the praises of the East Bay when Diablo sat down to talk at a recent Warriors practice.
PC: You grew up in Michigan. How much awareness did you have of the East Bay as a kid?
DG: Zero. I had zero awareness of California as a whole, let alone the East Bay. It’s completely different from where I grew up. In my rookie year, I was homesick; I felt like I was in a different country. I locked myself away from everything and didn’t experience much of the Bay at all.
PC: When did that change?
DG: When I came back my [second] year, I told myself to get out and experience more [of the area]. All my teammates said, “Man, you don’t like the Bay? We love the Bay!” And I was like, “Yo, y’all are crazy.” But everyone was so consistent about it. [They all said,] “We love the Bay.”
So, I told myself I was going to give myself more of a chance to like it—just experience some different things and meet new people. That second year, I fell in love with the Bay.
PC: Had you ever been to the Bay before signing with the Warriors?
DG: That was the first time. When I got drafted, I got off the plane in shorts—gym shorts and a T-shirt. I thought, I’m going to California; it’s going to be super hot. I was freezing!
I learned there is a difference between the Bay Area and Southern California, but I had no idea [then]. I was going to California and it was going to be 90 and sunny.
PC: How’s life in Alamo these days?
DG: I love it out there. It’s peaceful, and the weather is the best. It’s warm. [Alamo has] a completely different feel than everywhere else in the Bay. The Bay has so many different feels. You have San Francisco and Oakland, then you have Berkeley, which is a different feel. Orinda has a different feel. Even Walnut Creek is a different feel than Alamo.
PC: What were your goals when you signed with the team?
DG: When I was drafted, it was to make the team and sign the contract. Then it became, How do I get on the floor? Once I got on the floor, it was, How do I get more minutes? Once I got more minutes, I thought, Wow, I think I can do pretty good in this league.
When I came back for my third year, that’s where everything changed for me. At the beginning of that third year, I thought, I could be an All-Star in this league!
PC: You now live in the same town where Warriors GM Bob Myers was raised. It’s amazing that this kid who grew up loving the Warriors helped them build one of the greatest teams in NBA history. What does Bob mean to the organization?
DG: He means everything to this organization. You know, his temperament is important in building this team. Bob is never rattled; he always knows what to say and what to do. He’s just a great person to have around.
Obviously for him, being a fan of the Warriors since he was a kid, he saw a lot of bad basketball. To come to the Warriors and actually change the organization—that has got to be a dream come true.
PC: What is it about this team that makes it so great?
DG: It’s the chemistry. The chemistry is the reason we’ve had the success and impact we’ve had. There are other teams that win but don’t necessarily leave an impact. The way that we’ve done it, with the chemistry that we’ve had, it’s given everybody [on the team] hope. It’s given everybody a feeling like, I don’t need to do this by myself. I can band together with someone else and we can accomplish greater things.
PC: How could the Warriors’ team philosophy affect the world away from the basketball court?
DG: It could impact the world a lot, because a lot of things that happen in our world are driven by competition. In some way, shape, or form, it’s competition-driven. If you can keep that competitive spirit and come together, it makes you that much stronger. That’s what we’ve done here.
PC: You have used your celebrity to give back to the community, with programs such as your holiday shoe giveaway. Can you talk about your approach to community outreach?
DG: It means a lot to me to be able to give back to the community, because I grew up in a community very similar to Oakland. Saginaw [in Michigan] is not as big as Oakland, but the cities are very much alike. And I know the struggle. I’ve lived through the struggle, and I’ve been fortunate enough and blessed to make it out of the struggle—but the struggle is what made me and I’ll never forget it.
I didn’t live in a place like Alamo my entire life. I remember what it’s like to not live in a place like Alamo and the challenges that you face daily. I understand the struggle that some of these parents, these single moms, face because I remember my mom struggling. I appreciate that and do anything I can to help change it. Maybe I can help change it for just one day, but that’s one day better.
PC: You have organized a shoe giveaway over the past three Decembers. Why did you pick shoes as the focus of your philanthropy?
DG: First, I just love shoes. I remember times when I had one pair of shoes for five months, for six months, and that was it. It didn’t matter how beat-up they were, I was still going to have to wear them.
You never know what impact a shoe can have on a kid. A shoe can change a kid’s confidence. A shoe can make a kid comfortable with standing in front of the class and speaking. If they get up and talk in front of their class, they may realize, I have a talent here.
PC: I’ve heard that you and [Warriors center] DeMarcus Cousins live on the same block in Alamo, and that you go to SoulCycle classes in Walnut Creek.
DG: [Laughs] We live very close to each other. It is pretty cool. I’m very close to DeMarcus anyway, so it works out even better.
PC: On days that you don’t have practice, games, or travel, what is your ideal day in the East Bay?
DG: A perfect day in the East Bay is getting outside in nice weather and just spending time at the park with my children and my fiancée. Maybe walking around the shops in Walnut Creek and getting lunch outside. That’s [my] perfect day.
PC: You have had such a huge career in basketball—three NBA championships and an Olympic gold medal already. That’s more success than many great players have ever realized. Do you ever sit back and take it all in? And what are your goals from this point?
DG: It’s incredible to experience this much success. You know, sometimes I just sit back and go, Wow. I mean, we’ve worked so hard for years and it is satisfying to see all that hard work come to fruition. I appreciate that.
From here, we’re only looking up. We want to win more championships, do more great things, and try to change the game the way we have so far.
By Alejandra Saragoza
Stephen Curry hasn’t just changed the NBA with his Most Valuable Player awards and three-point shooting records. The Warriors superstar also serves as a positive role model, appealing to both boys and girls with his down-to-earth demeanor, strong work ethic, family values, and commitment to his communities.
Indeed, Curry is the type of celebrity athlete who sparks record apparel sales—his jersey has been the NBA’s top seller for the past three years. He’s also a transcendent figure whose widespread appeal goes beyond the scope of sports enthusiasts. Last year, Curry received praise from fans and non-fans alike for his response to a 9-year-old girl who took issue with his signature Under Armour shoes for kids after she found the Curry 5s were only available in boys’ sizes. Curry responded that the sneakers were for both genders but had been incorrectly labeled. Under Armour promptly fixed the error, and Curry sent the young fan a free pair of kicks. What’s more, he invited her to a special event in Oakland tied to International Women’s Day.
As the father of two daughters, Curry has been a longtime advocate for gender equality—especially in male-centric industries such as professional sports—and has shown his support by hosting all-girls basketball camps. Curry even wrote about the issue in an August 2018 essay that appeared in The Players’ Tribune, saying: “Women’s equality has become a little more personal for me … I want [our girls] to grow up in a world where their gender does not feel like a rulebook for what they should think, or be, or do. I want them to grow up believing that they can dream big, and strive for careers where they’ll be treated fairly.”
Curry also addressed issues of gender and toxic masculinity—and discussed his childhood struggles, the importance of mentoring, and the challenges facing young men of color in the United States—at a February event in Oakland hosted by Barack Obama. The three-day convention was part of the former president’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which aims to close opportunity gaps for minority boys. Curry’s passion for helping disadvantaged groups in the Bay Area and beyond has not gone unnoticed; he was honored with the NBA’s 2013–14 Seasonlong Kia Community Assist Award in recognition of his charitable contributions and fundraising efforts.
But love for Curry runs deepest in Oakland, and he constantly shows his appreciation to the community. He recently paid homage to The Town with his new Curry 6 sneakers, designing the shoes to reflect the iconic Fox Theater marquee. He even threw an epic party at the Fox, inviting local fans and high school basketball teams to attend the free event, which featured performances by Oakland rappers E-40, Too Short, and MC Hammer.
“This is a celebration of The Town, how special it is, how special the people are, and what we can offer the world,” Curry told the audience. “So let’s continue to build inspiration, grow, and celebrate and be proud of what we accomplished together, because what we do on the court is to represent you guys.”
Love the Dubs
By Peter Crooks
Alamo's Favorite Son: Warriors general manager Bob Myers’ story feels like it could be from a Disney movie: A young kid inherits his favorite team and inspires its players to win a championship. Raised in Alamo and obsessed with the Warriors from a young age, Myers never shed his Golden State allegiance for Lakers love, despite living in Los Angeles during his previous career as a sports agent. He was hired as the Warriors’ GM in April 2012 and helped build a championship team in just three seasons—and an NBA dynasty three seasons after that.
An Incredible Coach: Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been dynamite since taking over the team for the 2014–15 season, leading the club to three NBA championships in four seasons. He became the fastest coach to win 300 games in any professional sport when the Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in January. Kerr’s Dubs won 300 in just 377 games; the only other individuals to come close were former Lakers coach Pat Riley in 416 games and baseball manager Frank Chance in 426 games.
Danville DNA: Prior to the current crop of Warriors superstars, Rick Barry was the only Dub to win a Most Valuable Player Award in the NBA Finals series, as he led the Warriors to the 1974–75 title. After he retired, Barry lived in Danville, where he raised sons Brent and Jon, both of whom went on to have NBA careers. Barry’s other two sons, Canyon and Drew, have also played professional basketball.
Home-Court Camps: If your kid thinks she has moves like Curry, the Warriors can help you. For the 20th season, the team will host basketball camps for boys, girls, and grown-ups in 2019. Single-day clinics and weeklong camps are scheduled at a range of Bay Area locations, including in Danville, Livermore, Oakland, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. warriorscamps.com.
60 Minutes Loves the Dubs: Tune in to the April 14 episode of 60 Minutes to see a feature segment about how Golden State’s organization encourages success, from the front office to the front court. Inside scoop: Warriors VP of communications Raymond Ridder had to interrupt Steph Curry’s massage to ask him to join a 60 Minutes interview with fellow starters DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. “I can’t imagine any NBA superstar being as gracious as Steph was,” says Ridder. “He jumped off the table, got dressed, and sat down for the interview in less than five minutes.”
By the Numbers
The Warriors have set—and shattered—various NBA records on their way to cementing their legacy. Diablo crunched the numbers on some of the juggernaut team’s most impressive achievements and contributions, both on and off the court.
By Alejandra Sargoza
The Warriors Community Foundation has delivered millions of dollars to support education and youth development in the Bay Area since 2012. This season, the foundation has donated $1.5 million in grants to 49 organizations dedicated to improving equity in education across Alameda and San Francisco counties, investing in everything from early literacy to college access.
With only nine losses in the 2016 season, the Warriors broke the record for most wins in a regular season. The previous record of 72-10 was held by the 1996 Bulls, and one of the players on the team during that time was current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Many basketball courts in the Bay Area have been refurbished by the Warriors Community Foundation, in partnership with the Good Tidings Foundation. The Jason Richardson Court at Oakland’s Rainbow Recreation Center is among the beneficiaries.
A panel unanimously selected Steph Curry as the NBA’s MVP for the 2016 season. Besides earning the award for the second-straight year, Curry became the first player to win by unanimous decision.
With a 265-63 record from the 2014–15 season through 2017–18, the Warriors had a win percentage of .808—the best across any four-year span in NBA history.
16 Consecutive Home Wins
The Warriors’ streak during the 2017 and 2018 postseasons ended with their loss to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. The prior record of 15 was held by Michael Jordan’s 1990–91 Bulls.
Fans flocked to Oakland on June 12, 2018, to celebrate the Warriors’ NBA Finals win, the team’s third championship in four years.