OAKLAND — Oakland welcomed the Bay Area onto its streets Tuesday. Fans cheered and rolled in the confetti blanketing the avenues. Now widely christened as a dynasty, the Golden State Warriors were holding their third championship parade in the city in the last four years.
Still, many remember when you could get decent tickets to a game for $16. Not because those games played out in 1984, but because the Warriors were a shadow of the team they are today. Fans don’t have to look far for those memories. As recently as the 2011-2012 season, their golden anniversary in the Bay Area, the Warriors went 23-43.
General manager Bob Myers, a product Monte Vista High School in Danville, admitted that the first word he thinks of when considering the team’s run of success isn’t pressure or pride, but “disbelief.”
Just as the Warriors find themselves in the midst of an unprecedented run of success, they’re set to leave Oakland, the town that had loyally cradled them for decades. They’re heading to the $1 billion Chase Center under construction in San Francisco. The new, state-of-the-art arena — a legacy project of late San Francisco mayor Ed Lee — will hold 18,000 seats and thousands of jobs.
Given that when the Warriors came west from Philadelphia in 1962, they called the City home until 1971, some would see the move as a homecoming. Even fans that grew up commuting to games across the Bay, though, consider the Warriors Oakland’s team.
“It’s bittersweet. This could be the last [parade] in Oakland,” said Helen Wu, 38, of Hayward. “I grew up in the East Bay. This fan base stands by when times are tough.”
Now, Wu has a child of her own and worries he will miss parts of the Bay Area she remembers fondly.
“My son is seven, a lot of Bay Area stuff is being lost. We don’t even have the Bay Bridge we grew up with,” Wu said. “I’m a little jaded they’re leaving. The Warriors have been a ray of light in Oakland.”
This admiration is mutual. The love for Oakland is held by some at the top of the Warriors organization.
“There’s something about Oakland that is really special,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on Monday during the team’s annual post-season media availability. “Obviously, we’re the Bay Area’s team, but you go through the streets of Oakland and you see everybody’s faces and the joy and the diversity and the passion and the whole community coming together, it’s pretty cool.”
The fans brought that passion during the parade Tuesday, for every part of the cavalcade, except one. The “ownership” cars.
Cheers dimmed and signs sank when Warriors owner Joe Lacob rolled past.
“Keep the Warriors in Oakland,” the crowd chanted.
The Bay Area is broad and varied, honeycombed with numerous different cities and communities, with baseball and football teams that belong distinctly to Oakland and San Francisco, but fans have always rallied around this single team.
“The Warriors really bring the community together,” said Maricel Domagas of Alameda. “There’s a sense of unity with them.”
After one more run at Oracle Arena in the 2018-19 season, fans will have to wait for the 2019-2020 season to see if the Warriors can unify this region from the other side of the Bay.
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