Another parade coming to the Bay
It’s never happened in my lifetime.
But the Golden State Warriors are four wins away from winning its first NBA championship since 1975 as the Bay Area squad opened up the NBA Finals on Thursday against LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
And while I’ve been more biased toward the baseball and football teams by the Bay, I haven’t been a great follower of the lone NBA franchise that calls home right next to the Coliseum in Oakland. But as this season started to grow and I was reminded of how special the Warriors had become after a few seasons of near-misses in the playoffs, it’s still difficult to believe.
Just looking back after last season’s first round exit, Golden State fired its coach, Mark Jackson, who led them to the playoffs in his last two years after missing out in Year 1. But he couldn’t get the team deep in the playoffs and when you’re in the professional sports business, getting to the postseason is never good enough. Sure, it’s great when your team makes the playoffs after a 20-year hiatus but when you become a regular, expectations are greater. The trophy is a realistic goal and must be achieved.
After the firing, though, the Warriors turned to someone with no head coaching experience and who was a commentator for TNT during the NBA season. But what Steve Kerr lacked in coaching experience, he made up with his knowledge of the game from helping the Bulls win five titles to being a general manager with the Suns to broadcasting games and watching the game evolve in front of his eyes.
The hiring made sense because it paired the best 3-point shooter of the 1990s with the best sharpshooter of this decade. Stephen Curry has become a sensation to watch on the court, especially this season, and already broke the single postseason record for made 3-pointers. Kerr was like Curry when he played alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen as coach Phil Jackson orchestrated one of the most greatest dynasties in sports. He was nearly automatic from behind the arc and still holds the career record for 3-point accuracy.
Golden State followed its shining star and new coach to the best record in the NBA this season and avoided the trap that sunk the Warriors in previous postseason appearances. They came close two years ago, losing in the conference semifinals to the Spurs, and then fell flat last season as they lost to the Clippers.
This season, though, has turned me into a believer in Golden State basketball.
The interest nearly disappeared after the Bulls made their run nearly 20 years ago and I focused on playing sports that didn’t involve a hoop in high school. Baseball and football have always been at the front but basketball is slowing making a comeback. It’s fun to watch the NBA, especially this season, and this year’s Finals couldn’t have a more intriguing lineup than LeBron going against Curry.
The Bay Area’s fourth championship parade in the last five years is on the horizon if Golden State can complete its mission against Cleveland. I’m a believer that the Warriors can give the north side of the state a championship after seeing the Los Angeles dominate the NBA headlines for 30 years.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.