The City of Oakland and all the Bay Area residents that managed to squeeze into it on Tuesday had reason to smile. The Warriors’ victory parade had arrived, and nothing else mattered.
Fire trucks, cable cars and even AC transit buses displaying “GO WARRIORS” signs were parked along Broadway to welcome the players and staff taking their victory lap around the heart of Oakland.
“I got married in August last year, that was the happiest day of my life, but this is the coolest day of my life,” said Jared Sunter, an accountant for the Golden State Warriors waiting along the parade route.
“This is the best day of their lives,” he said of the crowd. “This brings people and families together no matter what else is going on in their lives.”
For the fans, days like this serve as a break from everyday life.
Sunter, who has been on staff for just over two years, walked in last year’s parade with Warriors staff, a tradition they continued this year. He remembers Klay Thompson and Matt Barnes running around, jumping in and out of buses. Barnes ran over to a fan and signed her shirt. She began to cry.
This year, Steph Curry was the first to step out of the bus and join the crowd — Larry O’Brien trophy in hand. Fans surged against the steel barricades lining Broadway to touch Curry as he ran past their outstretched arms.
Broadway was crowded, loud, hectic and in great spirits. Parade troupes, including team staff, danced and cheered under clouds of confetti — around 5,000 pounds of it, according to event organizers. Berkeley arrived, too, and Cal’s marching band put on a show for the shifting crowd. The crowd had been there for hours, but wasn’t anxious.
“I got here at 5:30 a.m., just like I did last year,” said Helen Wu, 38, from Hayward.
Wu has been a life-long Warriors fan and Bay Area resident.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” she said. “Even if it is our third time.”
Double-decker buses crowned with Warriors players rolled slowly down the street, stopping occasionally to let one of the champions mingle on the pavement. Kevin Durant, JaVale McGee and Swaggy P, among others, all greeted the crowd personally.
Fans were showered in candy, merchandise and champagne from the Warriors buses and sheriff’s deputies parceled out stickers to children.
The crowd was in good spirits, delivering “Warriors” chants back and forth across Broadway. Even the police got a standing ovation as they rode through on bicycles.
Local celebrities and politicians joined the parade, including Bay Area rapper e40 and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. MC Hammer rode with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf atop her signature flame spewing, Mad Max-themed snail-shaped car.
Police, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Civil Support Team from the National Guard were on on scene to ensure the crowd’s safety.
Once the parade passed, the crowds pushed passed the barriers and filled the streets. Most made “confetti angels” among the piles of paper that now covered the asphalt. No one stopped them.