Spander: New ownership for Warriors a good place to start 

Coming from the entertainment industry, where he was the poobah of National General, the late Gene Klein was used to having things his own way, which is what happens when you are successful in business. In fact, that is what makes you successful in business.

Klein, as many of the rich and famous have, decided in 1966 to purchase his own toy, the San Diego Chargers. To his dismay, he learned what every fan already knew. In sports, money often doesn’t buy happiness or championships.

In 1984, after getting close to a Super Bowl in the 1981 season, because of labor disputes and other issues which drove him to frustration, Klein sold the Chargers and purchased a stock of thoroughbreds, pointing out “horses don’t ask to renegotiate.”

The new owners of the Warriors perhaps do not know exactly what they’re getting into. They have plenty of money and plenty of smarts, but, as an example, neither attribute would have kept Monta Ellis from crashing his mo-ped.

Joseph Lacob and Peter Guber prima facie are a step up from the besieged Chris Cohan. Lacob even goes to Warriors games.
Guber, pure Hollywood, was the chief of Sony Pictures in the early 1990s, and has Los Angeles Lakers tickets, which one presumes means he understands what it is to have a team with Kobe Bryant or Guber’s former business partner, Magic Johnson. Guber also teaches at UCLA law school.

A 1996 book, “Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood,” described what one reviewer said were “the breathtakingly dumb decisions Sony has made in Hollywood and the odious cast of characters behind them.”
Guber, then, would seem perfect for the Warriors, although reportedly he had nothing at all to do with the recent drafting of Ekpe Udoh who observers say was the wrong selection. But since he’ll miss much of the next season after undergoing wrist surgery, well, it sounds like a script for one of Guber’s productions.

Frequently we are told by a TV or radio announcer — whose job is linked to a franchise — the owner is some team’s greatest fan. In truth, he is the only fan who has a say. The average guy who figuratively lives and dies with wins and defeats — “How could Brian Wilson blow that lead?” — gives his income and his soul, while, well, the Warriors give away Baron Davis.

A’s fans, the few that there are, sit in the left-field bleachers waving flags and blowing horns while Lew Wolff talks about moving the team.

Lacob and Guber insist the Warriors are not going anywhere, except up in the standings. A team which has been in the playoffs only once in 16 seasons needs more than new owners, but that is a very good place to begin.

Guber had attempted to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks but could not. He then headed north, where a more discerning, and desperate fan base waits with a mixture of optimism and cynicism.

Hollywood types are not particularly embraced up here, but Lacob is from NorCal. He knows our skepticism and our pain. Besides, he’s currently a minority owner of the Boston Celtics. So he also knows winners. So seemingly goes Guber.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

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Art Spander

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