Warriors

Barbosa recalls prophetic 'We gonna be championship' remark

Warriors

When Leandro Barbosa got off a plane in San Francisco to start his job as the Warriors' new player mentor coach, a flight attendant recognized him.

"We gonna be championship again, Leandro?" she asked. 

Barbosa said it happens all the time. When fans see him, they shout the famous words he declared in March 2015 during a postgame interview -- "We gonna be championship!" 

The words became prophetic in June 2015, when the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games to win the franchise's first NBA title since 1975. 

"It's funny, but I knew what I was saying. I definitely knew," Barbosa said on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. "A lot of people laughed when I did the interview and I said that in the middle of the season."

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Barbosa explained that he could sense something magical was building for the Warriors. In his time with the Phoenix Suns, Barbosa reached the conference finals three times. He knew what it was like to be close to the prize. 

As he looked around the Warriors' locker room, he saw a capable team with many weapons and family-like bonds.

"The Phoenix Suns ... I don't like to say this, but I have to -- we didn't used to play defensive," he added. "On the Warriors, we would play defense. And the offense was ridiculous."

As soon as "We gonna be championship!" escaped Barbosa's lips, he knew something big was in motion. 

 

"After I said it, I came to the locker room and said, 'Guys, I probably did a crazy thing but I said that we were going to be champions. Does anybody here believe or trust what I'm saying?' And everybody said, 'Yes, yes we're with you.' So I said, 'Let's make it happen.' 

"After we had that conversation in the locker room, right after I said that to the media, I was positive that was going to happen." 

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Barbosa's legendary words marked the start of the Warriors' dynasty, during which they won three championships in four seasons and established the regular-season record for wins (73). In responding to the flight attendant's question, he insisted the dynasty might not be over just yet.

"Why not? I'm coming back," he said.