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It’s bittersweet for me to watch the Warriors dominate the court

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Neil Erickson, Staff Writer

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Watching the Warriors shatter every record, wipe house in the playoffs and crush the spirits of other teams is mind blowing to watch. But as a lifelong Warriors fan, it feels bittersweet.

I was ecstatic to see my first NBA game. It was 2010 and I had just turned ten years old. That year I only asked for one gift for my birthday — to see a Warriors game with my best friends and my Mom. It wasn’t the most exciting game, but I loved every second of it.

It was not a good game for the Warriors, though, who only won 20 games that season. They were crushed against the Dallas Mavericks 111-90. The Mavericks later went on to be the NBA Championship team headlined by the great Dirk Nowitzki.

Despite the loss, I still was thrilled to be at the game. I got to see a young Stephen Curry score 17 points while shooting 60 percent from the three-point line. I got to experience the madness of Oracle Arena for the first time. I got to walk down to the court and see Monta Ellis and Corey Maggette, my favorite players at the time. I even got to buy a Corey Maggette jersey.

When my friends and I arrived home at around midnight after driving from Oakland to Santa Cruz, we starting playing basketball in the street. We wanted to be like Monta so we practiced our flashy dribble moves and passes. We wanted to be like Curry, so we shot threes with the fastest releases possible. It was too dark to see much, but under the street light we could see our shadows and we pretended that they were the reflections of Warriors players.

Even though they sucked, we still loved our team.

When they would finally pull off a win, it was such an exciting feeling that made us optimistic for the future. It was like achieving a labored, grinded out goal that took everything you had.

They lost almost all of their games, but it was bittersweet.

Then, the impossible happened.

Only five years later and the struggling band of misfits who couldn’t even come close to making the playoffs had become NBA champions.

Flash forward to today, and they are running the league.

The team transformed into basketball gods who are now expected to win every game, but for me as a fan, it was a different transformation.

Originally, I was just a little kid dazzled by the talents of the not-so-talented Warriors, a growing NBA fan falling in love with the game. But now, people don’t see me in that way.

I’m just another Warriors fan and all the negative connotations that come with.

I’m just another bandwagon.

I’m just another snake.

I’m just another fan who can’t even appreciate what he’s been given.

With the fame came the hate.

The childhood excitement for a win is not the same anymore. The Warriors are expected to win every quarter, every game, every playoff series, and every NBA Championship.

Instead, the excitement rushes back when Curry breaks another three-point record, or when Klay scores a ridiculous amount in only minutes, or when Kevin Durant breaks the other team’s spirit with a dagger jumpshot in the clutch, or when Draymond has one of the best defensive games of all time.

But that grinded out, worked for, delicious and satisfying win that breaks your expectations is not as tangible nowadays.

Even winning the championship has become slightly dull because they are so heavily expected to win it every year.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Warriors now and Championship seasons are much better than 20-win seasons, but when I look at my 2010 Corey Maggette jersey hanging in my apartment, I can’t help feeling bittersweet.

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “It’s bittersweet for me to watch the Warriors dominate the court”

  1. Kathy on November 5th, 2018 5:18 pm

    Beautifully written Neil! Great column!

    I remember in 2014 I was at a birthday party in SF. I didn’t know anyone at the party except for my BF and his best friend, who was the birthday boy. As I was getting some chips there was another guy who was wearing a New York Knicks cap. Trying to make conversation, I asked him, “Hey, are you a Knicks fan?” while pointing at his cap. All of his buddies turn around and stare him down. He says, “Uhhh, no, I’m just wearing it because I like the colors.” Of course, all of his buddies laugh at him.
    To break the awkward silence he says, “Are you a Knicks fan?” I said, “No, but I like the NBA.” He says, “What team do you like?” I said, “I like the Los Angeles Lakers.” All of his buddies go: “Awwh get out of here!” And I say, bewildered, “well, what team do you guys like?” And they all say in chorus, “Golden State Warriors!” I’m like, “Golden State Warriors?!?!”
    This was in March of 2014 so of course this was the year before Warriors won a championship (they did not win the championship that year). I’ve been a Laker fan all my life so the Warriors were never on my radar, ever. But when they finally won the championship in 2015, I was like “Okay Warriors, I see you. I see you now.”

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It’s bittersweet for me to watch the Warriors dominate the court