Boo-birds teach Lacob valuable, but brutal, ownership lesson


Boo-birds teach Lacob valuable, but brutal, ownership lesson

Now maybe Joe Lacob gets the picture. Now maybe he understands that the history of franchise doesnt get sliced up into portions depending on the identity of the owner.Lacob was gobsmacked by a wall of booing while introducing Chris Mullin on his number retirement Monday night. He had brought Mullin back from Chris Cohans administrative exile and wanted his contributions to the franchise memorialized, and he thought that correcting one on Cohans more petty errors made him bulletproof.Now he knows better. Now he gets the picture. Nobody escapes while the team is not winning. Nobody gets a pass for good intentions. Six playoff appearances in 36 years, and one in 18, shout far louder than a public relations gesture triggered by a generous spirit.This wasnt just Monta Ellis-trade booing either. This was all of it, unleashed by a fan base that knows how badly it has been taken advantage of over the years. This was the promise of a playoff position meeting the reality of being 13th in the West and looking at a future that remains tantalizingly distant.This is about the same old meal, delivered by a new waiter. Lacob has to know that doesnt work. And he knows now for sure.But he should have known it before this. He should have known it if anyone had told him about the 2000 All-Star Game, when Cohan, his own child by his side, was even more crushingly booed in the third quarter intermission while he was trying to present an award to Michael Jordan.Let me repeat that: With his son next to him. While giving an award to Michael Jordan.In other words, there was precedent for Monday, and the ensuing 12 years have been mostly just as rough as the previous 23.And Lacob can't to have hurt feelings about this, because the rules are different for those who represent three and a half decades of irrelevance with a touch of nonsense on the side. He did not build it, but they keep coming, and theyre pissed about it.Hes only been around for two years, true, but one of them is the current one, shortened by a lockout he helped support, and neither has been good. Fans who were thankful he wasnt Cohan have been given little evidence to convince them that the Cohan years arent still among them, save small gestures like the Mullin ceremony.And despite the best efforts of Mullin and Rick Barry to stem the tide (Mullin more successful at it than Barry, to be frank), those fans remain angry at all the money they have thrown, because for fans, every season is not different. When you have failed, all the seasons are the same, and they build up pressure until the valves break.Now Lacob has a choice to make, one that requires a level of humility. He can save face, or at least some of it, by taking this moment and touring the stands for the next few games, explaining to any and all that undoing the rancid past is more like turning an ocean liner than backing out of a driveway. He has to let the fans vent in smaller groups, or even individually.And his only response can be this:I know. I know. We havent gotten it right yet. We got handed a bad situation, but either we misjudged how bad it is or we havent gotten it all figured out yet. I shouldnt have promised you a playoff, and thats on me. Youre entitled to more proof than this, and I get how pissed you are about this.In fact, dont be patient with us. We dont deserve your patience. We dont have the right to it, and we wont until we have given you what you really want a team that can make you proud of its history. Im glad you booed me instead of Chris Mullin, because he is blameless. And you should keep booing me, and Peter Guber, and all of us, until you stop having to wait for what everybody else gets more often than weve given it to you.In other words, he has to take it, and keep taking it, until the Warriors stop giving its customers the same old night out.In the meantime, he has to learn that around here, the sins of the owners do not end when the old owner leaves. They go on and on until something better comes along.Thats the lesson. This was a message to Lacob that things are worse than he thought with the greatest fans in the NBA. And he can never be surprised by it again.

What do we make of Warriors already blowing three double-digit leads?


What do we make of Warriors already blowing three double-digit leads?

Captured as we are in the amber jar of Small Sample Size Theatre, there is something about the Warriors worth chewing on as they head for Philadelphia and a date with the precocious Philadelphia 76ers Saturday evening.
They now seem to disregard large leads as beneath them.
I’m not prepared to say what this means, but three of their losses this year (out of four, of course) have featured them hurling up a double-digit lead – 17 in the second quarter and 16 in the third quarter against Houston, 
13 against Detroit and 17 in the second and third quarters against Boston Thursday night.
This is more games in which they have done so than all of last season, in which they blew a 14-point lead Christmas Day in Cleveland and a 17-point lead at home to Memphis 13 days later.
In other words, this could just be a phase they are going through as the team that knows it can produce at will and believes the other teams will cower in fear at the mere sight of their power and fold like 200-thread towels.
But three times in four weeks would be enough for head coach Steve Kerr to find a new way to put foot to hinder at future practices. It suggests that the Warriors, having outgrown their early weariness from a fun-filled summer (hey, they went to China and didn’t get busted for anything, so there’s that), maybe take themselves a bit for granted, and Kerr and team lecturers Draymond Green, David West and Andre Iguodala will now have something to help them all correct in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Oklahoma City and then home again.
I mean, what’s the point of having a big lead if you can’t enjoy it by making it bigger and bigger? What’s the value of leading by 17 and calling it a night when you can lead by 29 and THEN put your feet up? I mean, Houston did it last night and took the whole second half off.
Anyway, that’s today’s Warriors Gristle – what to do when you think you’ve won enough hands and find out you haven’t. Tomorrow, we’ll touch on what they need to do about keeping those old Kevin-Durant-back-in-OKC story lines tired and repetitive.

Klay Thompson: 'I never thought I’d be on billboards and posters in China'


Klay Thompson: 'I never thought I’d be on billboards and posters in China'

OAKLAND — Klay Thompson danced unabashedly in China after winning another NBA championship, and it got shared all over social media. He smoked a stogie on the rooftop, letting loose to reveal another side of himself.

“I didn’t plan for that video to go viral,” Thompson said matter-of-factly. “I was just having fun. I’ve always been myself and having fun while doing it and learning to enjoy every day, because it goes by so fast.”

Coming to that mindset, however, has been a process for the seventh-year Golden State guard, who acknowledges for so long he put extreme pressure on himself to be the best.

The quiet, more under-the-radar Warriors All-Star of the bunch, Thompson has provided a steadying hand early on for the reigning NBA champions who are favored to capture a third title in four years.

“I used to stress a lot more at the beginning of my career about my performance,” Thompson recalled. “Now, it’s not like I don’t stress, but I play more carefree and I’m more able, if I play as hard as I can I’m satisfied with the results. ... I used to compare myself with all players and want to be the best so badly, but now it’s all about winning and having fun and realizing basketball is more of a team sport than anything.”

After a recent practice, Thompson dazzled right alongside a couple of visiting Harlem Globetrotters, spinning the ball on his finger, rolling it up and down his arms, off his knee and then a foot soccer-style before swishing a short jumper.

“I should’ve been a Globetrotter!” he yelled.

It’s a new look for this hang-loose, beach-loving Splash Brother.

The approach is working for the Warriors.

“He still carries the threat. You have to honor him,” Orlando coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s great at making the right play. Their whole team is. I think he’s trying to fit in with their whole buy-in that ball movement and passing is greater than any one man carrying the bulk of it.”

Still, his numbers are stellar. Thompson has had a fast start this season, which previously hasn’t been the case.

Thompson credits the familiarity with teammates and a comfort in coach Steve Kerr’s offense.

“He’s taken another step in his game. Just the experience that he’s had in his career, every year he’s gotten better and I think this year he’s shown how at the end of the season he carried it over to the beginning of this year,” backcourt mate Stephen Curry said. “Historically he hadn’t started seasons well but this year he’s locked in. He’s obviously shooting the ball well and playing great defense, but I think the biggest thing is his playmaking in situations where he’s drawing a crowd. He’s making great decisions setting guys up and just playing under control for the most part this entire season.”

Life off the court is great for Thompson, too, and that helps him be stress-free on it.

Look closely, and it’s easy to see he has come out of his shell.

On a day off last week, he golfed a popular public course close to Oracle Arena. Thompson signed someone’s toaster last spring, and it became a superstition.

In July, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at an Oakland Athletics game, then drove an IndyCar in September while serving as Grand Marshal of a series stop in Sonoma.

Thompson shares his training tricks on social media and posts photos with his bulldog, Rocco.

He recently donated $75,000 to relief efforts in the aftermath of the devastating Northern California wildfires, committing $1,000 per point for a three-game stretch during which he scored 69 points — but added to that total.

He is a spokesman for chocolate milk and an obscure — in the U.S. anyway — Chinese shoe company. He signed an $80 million, 10-year extension to wear the sneakers.

“Life’s good,” Thompson said. “I never thought I’d get paid millions of dollars to wear shoes and apparel. I’m very proud to be a part of Anta. ... It’s so cool that I’m big in China. I never thought I’d be on billboards and posters in China.”

Thompson has found a balance during the offseason to stay sharp, mixing up his workouts with outdoor activities he enjoys.

“It took years for me to figure out how to prepare the best I can for the season. I finally learned in my sixth year,” he said. “You’ve got to stay in shape almost year-round because as you get older it’s harder to get back into shape. It’s easier to get out of shape than it is to get back into shape. I do other things besides basketball to stay in shape in the offseason. I think that just keeps my mind fresh.”

He hopes to do a formal swim from Alcatraz, or even a triathlon. He swims in the ocean — “my favorite place in the world” — whenever he can. Freestyle is his strength, butterfly not so much. He plays hours of beach volleyball or just throws the football around and runs routes through the sand.

At work, he has been a model of consistency. Thompson is determined to be a better passer, creating for teammates whenever possible. He also usually guards the opponent’s top perimeter scorer.

Thompson is off to his best shooting season ever, with career highs of 49.4 percent shooting from the field and 45.6 percent on 3-pointers.

“I think his playmaking has been the best it’s been in his career,” Kerr said. “He’s really doing a good job of putting the ball on the floor and moving it on, drive and kick game, finding the centers in the pocket for little floaters. ... It’s been his best passing season so far.”

Thompson used to get teased for his lack of assists, and it remains a running joke.

“I got thick skin,” Thompson quipped, “honestly I don’t really care.”

That carefree approach has taken time, and the Warriors are better for it.