Merriam-Webster defines the word culture as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.”
Warriors culture has a very specific connotation created and cemented by a recent dynasty takeover.
“The way we play is the way the locker room is. It’s fast, loose, disciplined,” Warriors big man Kevon Looney said on Sunday. “Everybody in the locker room is having fun, everybody puts their input in, and as long as you work, you’re able to enjoy what you’re doing. There’s going to be music playing, it’s going to be guys joking around as long as you working.
“If you stop working, they’re going to call you out and hold you accountable about it. But it’s still always going to be a lot of fun. End of the bench guys can give input, the stars can give input, the coaches let players have a say, and I think that’s the biggest thing with our culture is we always talk about playing with a joy, and I think that joy never left.”
The word “culture” gets thrown around professional sports and we’ve seen it help teams discover their identity.
Teams work incredibly hard to develop a culture within their franchise, and for Golden State, it began with two big faces of the franchise.
“I give a lot of credit to Steve [Kerr] and Bob [Myers], they brought guys in the locker room that still fit our culture and our personality,” Looney said. “Even when we were losing, they didn’t change, overhaul everything. They stuck to our gameplan of the people fitting the scheme, the environment was the same even though we were losing, the environment was still fun, it was still fun to come to work, it was a lot of things going on and you still got Draymond [Green] and Steph [Curry] and Klay [Thompson] is still around, so they’re still setting that culture up.
“Even if we’re losing, they’re going to be in there working hard, attacking rehab hard and we got examples like that who walk around carrying excellence, you gotta rise to the occasion. When we’re losing, when you’re an end of the bench guy, or middle of the pack guy, if those guys aren’t complaining, you can’t complain either. They do a good job of setting order and keeping everybody in line.”
The creation of the current dynasty in Golden State during the 2014-15 season helped the Warriors get to their first NBA Finals in 40 years before make five consecutive Finals appearances and wining three rings in that span.
After two rough seasons and several adjustments, the Warriors are four wins away from their fourth NBA title in eight years.
Their talented roster full of veterans and young guys craving their first ring will be a good matchup against a young and confident Boston Celtics team, as Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals is set for Thursday at Chase Center.
But it will take more than talent and skill to beat Jayson Tatum and the Celtics. Warriors culture will need to be alive and thriving throughout the series, especially playing in front of a high-intensity Boston crowd at TD Garden.
It won’t be easy, but it’ll be fun to watch. And as Looney mentioned, we know what the Warriors can accomplish when they’re having fun.