The proposed move of the Warriors to San Francisco, expected to be announced as soon as this week, makes no sense except for one thing: Joe Lacob’s ego.
Lacob is simply out of control with his ego. He and co-owner Peter Gruber overbid Larry Ellison to buy the Warriors franchise and now, Lacob’s plan (he’s apparently making all the decisions) is to pay far too much for an arena in San Francisco, just because he thinks he’ll become a glamorous figure in San Francisco society.
Of course, it’s also possible that this is the brainchild of his son, Kirk, who has made a breathtakingly rapid ascent on the corporate ladder to assistant general manager. Wonder how he managed that.
Lacob’s ego has been front and center for months. He came in promising the Warriors would make the playoffs. They didn’t. Surprise. He predicted Klay Thompson would become the Rookie of the Year. He finished sixth.
Then, when Chris Mullin’s uniform was retired, instead of letting Al Attles, who actually knows Mullin, do it, Lacob had to put himself out there. He got booed, deservedly so.
Despite their conspicuous lack of success, the Warriors have continued to draw well. At least a part of the reason is that their arena is so accessible to fans from all parts of the Bay Area, basically in the center of the biggest part of the fan base. Fans can drive on the freeway adjacent to the arena or take BART from San Francisco or the East Bay, with another BART link planned to San Jose.
Access will be much more difficult to the proposed San Francisco site, at Piers 30-32, because there is no direct BART link there and only city streets. And San Francisco is not in the center of the fan base.
But it’s what Joe Lacob wants.
There is also a serious question of whether he and Gruber can afford this arena, after overbidding for the Warriors. There will have to be the environmental reports first, and who knows what they’ll find. The piers will have to be destroyed and substantial support built in underwater. Only then can the arena be built.
Joe Lacob’s ego is going to cost him a tremendous amount of money, because San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has stated firmly that there will be no city money coming the Warriors’ way.
I’ve been told by somebody close to Lacob that he also wants a more complete experience for the fans by having restaurants nearby.
And of course, everything will be more expensive for fans, including the parking. San Francisco is not a city where you do things on the cheap.
All this is going to be happening as the Warriors fulfill their contract with the Oracle Arena, which runs through the 2016-17 season. Of course, it will take at least that much time to work through all the roadblocks with Lacob’s plan.
It may be that he’ll eventually decide to go back to the Giants and try to work out a deal with them..But the Giants have moved on, with a development planned for the back of their parking lot. Sorry about that, Joe.
An overwhelming ego can be a serious problem. Joe Lacob is about to learn that.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at email@example.com.
The Joe Lacob file
- Majority owner of the Golden State Warriors
- Formerly a minority owner of Boston Celtics
- A partner of Menlo Park-based Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers since 1987
- As a venture capitalist, Lacob has led investments in over 50 start-up companies
- Formerly a primary investor and pioneer of the American Basketball League, a professional women’s basketball league that eventually lost out to the WNBA
- Lacob has been involved with Stanford basketball for over 25 years and is a fixture in his courtside seats at Maples Pavilion