OAKLAND – To those in the media and beyond that want to cast the Warriors as villains because they won the Kevin Durant Sweepstakes, general manager Bob Myers has a question:
Where were you and your provocative opinions when our butts were bruised from being kicked by every franchise in the league?
“You remember what we had to watch?” Myers said Thursday. “... We watched teams come here and destroy our team. We didn’t have any of those players.
“So I’m not going to apologize.”
The Warriors over the summer were criticized by some of the same voices that slighted them during the summer of 2015, claiming that their freshly won championship was less than legitimate.
The recent noise is directly related to Durant’s decision to leave contending Oklahoma City and join the Warriors, who defeated the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. There is a sense among some that the Warriors, by building the league’s most imposing squad, are savages out to crush the rest of the league.
Truth is, the bullied Warriors have put themselves firmly in position to be a bully.
“There have been some amazing teams in the NBA in the last 15, 20, 25 years. Everybody gets their turn,” Myers said. “Maybe this is our time to see what we can do with a talented group of players.
“Man, we waited. If you’re a fan of this team, you had to be patient. You had to wait.”
Warriors fans spent the better part of 20 years hoping and getting almost nothing in return. Between 1994 and 2013, there was a total of one trip to the playoffs. And when it finally came, in 2007, there was the kind of euphoria usually reserved for teams that win championships.
The leader of the “We Believe” Warriors, Baron Davis, who did not make the All-Star team, became a folk hero partly because of his swagger and partly because he was so spectacular when compared to the likes of Bimbo Coles or Jason Caffey or the ghost of John Starks.
The “We Believe” Warriors went 42-40 but generated excitement and were celebrated. That’s how low the bar was set. That’s how starved the fan base was for something, anything, that carried the slightest scent of success.
The Pitiful Years included seasons of 17-65 (2000-01), 19-63 (1997-98), 19-63 (1999-00) and 21-61 (2001-02). The Warriors finished above .500 twice while posting six seasons in which they were at least 20 games below .500.
There is a reason why Myers, who grew up in the East Bay is exceedingly familiar with the Pitiful Years, shows not the slightest hint of remorse for making smart moves, exploiting the market and assembling one of the most buzz-worthy teams in league history.
“I feel like, for our fans, they deserve to watch a team like this,” Myers said. “Our fans are the best. They stuck with some tough stuff to watch. So let’s not apologize.”