SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors’ march through avenues beyond sports took another stride Monday with the announcement that the NBA franchise will explore the world of original storytelling.
Golden State Entertainment (GSE), several years in the making, initially will focus on documentaries and music, mostly with a connection to the Bay Area, but also will extend its reach into other topics at the intersection of sports and culture.
At the center of this undertaking is David Kelly, who spent most of the past decade as the Warriors’ chief legal officer while also being responsible for managing the team’s salary cap. As chief business officer of GSE, Kelly has relinquished salary-cap responsibilities but will remain CLO.
“If you think about music and film and sports, they all go in the same direction,” Kelly, a musician who has released eight albums and toured internationally, told NBC Sports Bay Area. “They’re all aligned with each other. They’re all adjacent to each other.”
Peter Guber, co-executive director of the Warriors alongside CEO Joe Lacob, was instrumental in the formation of GSE. Guber has established ties in the entertainment industry, having served as chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment and president of Columbia Pictures. He also is the founder of Mandalay Entertainment.
“I can’t count how many conversations I had with Peter as we were developing this project,” Kelly said. “His insight and knowledge of the industry were a huge part of the process.”
The first music endeavor is set for Friday, with the release of K-Pop star BamBam’s new single, “Wheels Up,” featuring Oakland singer/rapper Mayzin, who signed a multi-album contract with GSE as its lead artist.
GSE also is collaborating with Mandalay Sports Media Paramount Media Networks for a documentary on legacy of a former NBA star whose personal principles ultimately cost him his career. The new venture also is involved in the production of another documentary featuring a former Warriors guard.
“You’re seeing more sports-related content; it’s booming now,” Kelly said. “So, why don’t we start to create our own content? We already engage in storytelling. But let’s tell stories not just for the sake of selling tickets, not for the sake of selling sponsorships. Let’s tell stories for the sake of the story.”
Kelly stressed, however, that GSE will engage on video and music projects unrelated to sports but culturally significant.