Welcome to the Land of the Loathed, Warriors fans.
It hasn’t happened yet, but the heel turn is coming.
Count on it.
On the verge of becoming a dynasty after they closed out their second NBA championship in three seasons Monday night with a 4-1 series victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors have unlocked a new status level previously unimaginable. For the first time since the 49ers ran the NFL in the 1980s and 90s, a Bay Area franchise truly qualifies as that team, the one your friends love to hate because they’re so damn good.
They’re not yet Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. They haven’t quite reached the same level as the late 1990s New York Yankees. But if the core four stay healthy and continue on together, the Warriors are on their way. They’re already the Boston Red Sox, the Miami Heat with LeBron James and the Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
And what a strange place this is to be.
Chew on this fact -- this is the Warriors, a franchise whose history is littered with more missteps than Mikey’s ill-fated drunk dial in ‘Swingers.’
This is the team that once traded away Robert Parrish and the No. 3 pick, which turned into Kevin McHale, so it could move up and select Joe Barry Carroll. It’s the same franchise that only year after trading everything to select him with the first overall pick, swapped Chris Webber for Tom Gugliotta. And then there was that time that star guard Latrell Sprewell choked out P.J. Carlisiemo.
But those are just the highlights.
If you’ve lived and died with the Warriors, you remember so much more. Bill Simmons perfectly encapsulated the hell of being a Golden State fan five years ago with a cringe worthy 4,000-word piece on 60 horrifying moments in franchise history. Reading that May 2012 piece probably felt to many of you as if you’d purposely slammed your head into a desk over and over and over.
It hasn’t all been bad.
There was the Rick Barry title in 1975-76 that many of you weren’t alive to witness.
The Run TMC days made the Warriors a household name again for a few seasons. Sarunas Marciulionis and Manute Bol were fun.
Short-lived as it was, The Baron Davis Era was fantastic.
But the highlights have been few and far between and dominated by years of misery.
Remember when the arrival of Troy Murphy and Jason Richardson pumped life into the Oracle Arena crowd? The Larry Hughes-Vonteego Cummings’ backcourt appeared to have promise. Monta Ellis looked like a star in the making.
None of it panned out.
And yet here they are.
As long as Kevin Durant and Steph Curry stick around, the Warriors appear capable of doing this to the rest of the league for quite some time. The 2016-17 offense put together one of the most efficient postseasons of all time en route to the best postseason record (16-1) in NBA history.
How did this franchise manage to become that team?
They’re young, too.
Curry is 29. Durant is 28. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are 27.
If everyone stays healthy, the possibility of sustained dominance is high as long as the league’s current rules remain in place. And that means the potential for becoming annoying to anyone who isn’t a Warriors fan is extremely high.
Golden State’s brilliance is undeniable. They’ve proven to be that much better than everyone else on the court time and again, including beating one of the league’s all-time greats twice in three consecutive NBA Finals.
Players know they’re good. They like to celebrate as evidenced by Curry’s high steps, Green’s flexing, etc.
In Green, they have the perfect villain, a player who is intelligent on the court, plays at an intense level and wears his emotions on his sleeve. Throw in the mercenary factor they gained when Durant spurned Oklahoma City to join the Warriors and they have all the ingredients necessary.
The haters are headed this direction and they’re coming in droves.
And it’s just so damn weird.