Warriors

Warriors form jersey partnership with Rakuten

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Warriors form jersey partnership with Rakuten

The NBA Champion Golden State Warriors and Rakuten, Inc. (rack–ten) today anounced a multi-year partnership to include the Rakuten logo on all Warriors jerseys beginning in the 2017-18 NBA season. The Rakuten badge will be featured on all of Golden State’s practice, regular, post-season and Summer League uniforms. For the first time in NBA history, the NBA approved the sale of jersey sponsorships, beginning with the 2017-18 season. The badges will be on the front left opposite the Nike logo and will measure approximately 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches and be adjusted to fit the dimensions of each sponsor’s logo.

As part of the partnership agreement, Rakuten will also become the Official E-Commerce Partner, Official Video-On-Demand Partner and Official Affiliate Marketing Partner of the Warriors. In addition, Rakuten Group company Ebates, a leading membership-based online cash-back site in the U.S., will become the Warriors Official Shopping Rewards Partner, the global mobile voice messaging service Rakuten Viber will become the Official Instant Messaging and Calling App Partner and the Rakuten Kobo eReaders will become the Official E-Reader Partner of the Warriors.

“Rakuten is an innovative global leader that we knew would align well with our values and principles as an organization,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “We have incredible fan support around the globe and this partnership is another way to not only continue to grow the Warriors brand globally, but also further connect with our fans in Japan, Asia and Europe.”

Founded in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, as the world’s first successful merchant-focused e-commerce marketplace, Rakuten now encompasses over 70 businesses spanning e-commerce, digital content, communications and fintech that reach more than 1 billion members around the globe. Since 2012, Rakuten has been ranked in the top 30 of Forbes Magazine's annual “World's Most Innovative Companies” list. In line with its growing investment in the United States and its vision for global innovation, Rakuten established its Americas regional headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Golden State Warriors, one of the most successful organizations in sports today and one that shares our passion for positivity, teamwork and optimism,” said Rakuten Inc. founder and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani. “Like FC Barcelona, the iconic soccer club we partner with, the Warriors are innovators in their sport that have helped create a more beautiful game through a distinct style of unselfish, teamwork-oriented play.”

The Warriors won the 2017 NBA Championship, the fifth title in franchise history and second in the last three years. The organization was also honored with the SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Sports Team of the Year award in both 2014 and 2016, along with Warriors Owner and CEO Joe Lacob earning the SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Sports Executive of the Year award in 2016.

The Rakuten partnership also includes entitlement to the Warriors Practice Facility, now named the Rakuten Performance Center, along with a significant representation with the Warriors traveling party and additional sales and marketing elements including in-arena signage, digital, social and radio.

The Warriors sponsorship adds another global platform to Rakuten’s professional sport portfolio that includes ownership of Japan’s Vissel Kobe soccer club and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team, the team that won the national Japan Series Championship in 2013. In July 2017, the company also became the Main Global Partner and Official Innovation and Entertainment Partner for iconic soccer club FC Barcelona.

Golden State Warriors media services

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

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AP

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

Warriors rookie Jordan Bell made an instant impact for the team this season. But as of late, his playing time has dwindled. In four of the Warriors' last five games, Bell has been inactive. 

“It's just the life of a rookie,” Bell said to The Athletic. “That's what Steve Kerr always tells me. It's not because I'm playing bad. Just gotta be professional about it and stay ready. It's like being a freshman all over again.”

While Bell wants to be on the court with his teammates, what he appreciates most from Steve Kerr is his communication. Kerr is always honest about when he won't play Bell and he keeps the former Oregon Duck encouraged. 

“He talks to me about it every time he sees me,” Bell said. “Lets me know I'm not going to be active. Keep doing what you're doing, you're doing good. But it still f------ sucks. You're playing well and it doesn't mean anything because you're younger. It sucks, but you got to be professional about it.”

Bell has played in 12 of the Warriors' 18 games this season. The 22-year-old is averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over 8.3 minutes per game. 

The Warriors bought the 38th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Chicago Bulls and selected Bell. On Friday night, the Warriors, and perhaps Bell, play the Bulls for the first time this season. 

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

The Warriors are not ready to flip their seek-and-destroy switch. Not yet.

They’re closer to being ready than, say, their longtime rivals in Cleveland, but in going 2-2 on this four-game road trip the Warriors showed they are nowhere near full annihilation mode.

They went into Oklahoma City Wednesday night and, in gulping down a 108-91 loss on national TV, came away looking more vulnerable than they have in any game this season. The 17-point loss was their largest margin of defeat and this was awful close to being a wire-to-wire rout.

The Warriors defense, so splendid during the seven-game win streak they took out of town last week, was inconsistent throughout and downright atrocious by their standards as they concluded the trip.

Their offense, which had begun reducing the turnovers to acceptable levels, came apart like a pair of $3 sneakers.

Even their body language, aside from two well-deserved technical fouls, seemed to mostly vacillate between whispers and a whimpers.

“We didn’t have any focus or concentration,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The ‘millennials’ couldn’t lock in tonight. And their coach couldn’t do much either. Long night for us.”

These were not the Warriors who posted seven consecutive double-digit wins, and they’re certainly not the team that found its competitive blowtorches last April. They weren’t visible in this game, nor were they seen for most of this road trip.

This, ahem, regular-season road trip.

That’s the catch. Last April is when the playoffs got underway, and next April is when the 2018 playoffs begin. The time between now and then is for experimenting, fine-tuning and fighting through the monotonous joys of victory -- a factor on vivid display Wednesday night.

“We played with some decent energy,” Stephen Curry said. “We just didn’t play smart.”

“They completely outplayed us, outcoached us,” Kerr said. “It was just their night. It was absolutely their night. They brought the energy, they brought the juice, they brought the intelligence. And we didn’t bring any of that.”

The Warriors entered the game after studying video and stats that illustrated OKC’s ability to disrupt an offense. The Thunder leads the NBA in steals, deflections and -- this one punches the Warriors in the gut -- forcing turnovers.

The Warriors committed 22 giveaways, leading directly to 34 Thunder points.

“Thirty-four points off turnovers, you can’t win like that,” Draymond Green said.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play,” Kerr said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere around here. That’s great, but there are certain times where it’s like, ‘All right guys. Let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play.’ ”

Kevin Durant bemoaned the “silly turnovers” that were such a factor in the game, blaming it players rather than Kerr and his staff.

“For the most part he can’t control that type of stuff,” said Durant, whose four turnovers were second to Curry’s team-high six. “We’ve got to be better at keeping the ball in our hands, shooting more shots than our opponents and playing defense.”

Added Green: “We were pretty well-prepared. We just played bad.”

That happens to even the best of teams, a category in which the defending champions fit quite snugly. No team, not even the Chicago Bulls of the maniacally competitive Michael Jordan, is able to bring its best for 82 games a season.

The Warriors blew two 17-point leads, one in second quarter and another in the third, in losing at Boston.

They fell behind by 24 in the third quarter to the 76ers before coming back to win in Philadelphia before recovering the next night to submit their best performance of the trip in routing Brooklyn.

And in OKC, against a Thunder team that would seem to get their full attention, the Warriors were outhustled, outsmarted and played with considerably less fury.

“Right now, we’re just in a little bit of rut, where we’ve got to focus,” Kerr said. “And I know we will. We’ve done this many times in the past and bounced back. And we’ll bounce back. We need to lock in and tighten up everything.”

They will, eventually. It could happen next week, or next month, or after the calendar turns to 2018. They’ll turn it on and become the team of terror, punishing all before them. It might be April, though.

This road game indicated some truth, though, which is there will be games over the next four months in which they will lose the battle with themselves.