Warriors celebrate 'phenomenal day' as Chase Center finally opens

Warriors celebrate 'phenomenal day' as Chase Center finally opens

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the last decade, the Golden State Warriors brain trust has waited anxiously for the day Chase Center opened along the shores of San Francisco. 

Now, following years of construction setbacks, the organization finally saw the vision through with the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the building Tuesday morning. 

"It's a phenomenal day," Warriors co-chairman Joe Lacob told NBC Sports Bay Area shortly after the ceremony. "It's hard to describe on a personal note just how meaningful it is."

Tuesday's ceremony marks the culmination of almost eight years of hurdles. After the Warriors announced plans for a privately financed, multi-purpose arena on Piers 30-32 along the city's waterfront in 2012, San Francisco officials pushed back on the plan, prompting the Warriors to shift plans to the current site in the San Francisco's Mission Bay district.

After years of setbacks, the project finally broke ground in 2017. 

"It's nearly impossible to get a project done in the city of San Francisco," team president Rick Welts said. "It's just the reality of how we run our city. I think I thanked about a thousand people and there are about a thousand more that were a part of making this get to the finish line."

Golden State's move to San Franciso marks the end of the team's 47-year stay in Oakland's Oracle Arena. For the last two seasons, the organization has paid tribute to the East Bay city, donning Oakland-inspired alternate jerseys with the "The Town" stitched across the chest - a tradition that will continue in their new area. The team continued to pay tribute to their East Bay roots Tuesday afternoon, as the Oakland Interface Gospel Choir opened the ceremony. While most of the team's basketball staff, players and employees moved into the new building, the team's old practice facility will host team basketball camps and provide office space for non-profits around Alameda County.  

"We're going to have one foot planted on each side of the bay," said Welts. "We're always going to be the Bay Area's team."

The Warriors new arena comes as the team finds itself at a crossroads. Two months ago, star forward Kevin Durant opted to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, prompting a trade to acquire All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell -- one of eight new players on the roster. Additionally, Klay Thompson, who tore his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, is expected to be sidelined until midseason. Still, Lacob believes the team can continue its recent run of dominance. 

"I think it's going to be a lot different for everybody. We have a lot of youth on the team this year," Lacob told NBC Sports Bay Area. "But we kept our core together: Steph, Draymond, Klay and we added a young 23-year old All-Star in D'Angelo Russell so the way I look at is we have four all-stars once Klay gets back and we have no reason to be back at 100 percent. He's never been injured, he has a strong body, he heals well. We think when he gets back we're going to be a really good team and a team that should give a lot of people pause when we get to the playoffs."

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Tuesday's marks the first of a string of events at the site this month, including a performance by rock band Metallica, who will open the venue Friday evening. A month later, the Warriors will follow suit, playing their first game inside the arena Oct. 5 for a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

"It's a really rewarding day," Lacob said. "And I think the years to come will make it that much more so." 

Warriors' Rick Welts only has one box score framed in his office

Warriors' Rick Welts only has one box score framed in his office

Rick Welts -- the Warriors' team president and chief operating officer -- has seen a lot of basketball over the years.

But there is one single performance that stands out above the rest.

During a radio appearance Wednesday morning on 95.7 The Game, Welts was asked: "Quarantine game -- if you're stuck indoors for a full year, one TV, one game playing on a loop, 24/7, 365 -- what game is Rick Welts taking?"

The Hall of Famer provided a definitive answer:

"Let's see. Michael Jordan. Magic Johnson. Larry Bird. Actually not even a close call for me. I only have one box score framed in my office -- if I ever get to see my office again -- and that's Klay's 37-point quarter. Without a doubt -- the most amazing thing I've ever seen on a basketball court.

"I could never get tired of watching it. He was out of his mind. I'm not sure we'll ever see anything like that again. And the crowd was a big part of it because he reacted every time the crowd reacted. Our bench was insane.

"Everybody in the building knew they were seeing history being made."

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In the third quarter of the Warriors' win over the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 23, 2015, Klay Thompson went 13-for-13 overall, 9-for-9 from deep and 2-for-2 from the free throw line.

Very good choice, Mr. Welts.

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What sporing event Warriors' Jordan Poole will miss watching most

What sporing event Warriors' Jordan Poole will miss watching most

Warriors rookie Jordan Poole has many interests outside of basketball.

If you follow him on Instagram, you know that he loves cats.

The 20-year-old enjoys watching movies and TV shows, and generally considers himself a homebody.

Poole also likes other sports, and when Wes Goldberg of the Bay Area News Group asked him which canceled or postponed sporting events he is going to miss, the Michigan product provided an answer that might surprise you.

"I love watching the college World Series, I definitely like watching softball as well," he said. "March Madness was going to be cool of course, but that’s basketball. The college World Series is something sports-related that I was really looking forward to."

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How did Poole get into college baseball?

"I would watch the games when we were in school (at Michigan), go support my guys on the team, but I was really locked into the World Series," he answered. "Those games get pretty rowdy."

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Last year, Michigan reached the College World Series for the first time since 1984.

The Wolverines advanced all the way to the championship best-of-three series -- winning Game 1 before dropping the next two to Vanderbilt.

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