Warriors ready for wedding day at brand new Chase Center vs. Lakers


Warriors ready for wedding day at brand new Chase Center vs. Lakers

SAN FRANCISCO – With machines blocking the hallways, tape on the walls and organized chaos behind the scenes this week, it’s apparent that all previous events at Chase Center, the tours and concerts and the wrestling, were mere rehearsals for the wedding at 5 p.m. Saturday.

It’s a preseason game, but that’s when the Warriors, less than four months after breaking up with one city, will jog out of their locker room to marry another. Chase Center officially goes from vision to reality and becomes the official home of the Warriors.

The occasion will be, for many, a celebration for the completion of a project years in the making. San Francisco should be civically proud of its first full-size indoor showplace.

But let’s remember, this is a change of address for purposes of business. The owners of the franchise fantasized of a new home, spent years shopping, finally acquired it and now are committed to paying for it.

Though there was melancholy in watching the Warriors leave Oakland – shortly after reaching their collective peak, to intensify the burn – this is neither The Town’s loss nor The City’s win. The Warriors, after all, never once committed during their 48 years in the East Bay.

They never truly belonged to Oakland, and not one day passed without a reminder in the form of the “Golden State” moniker. They changed logos. They went through dozens of jersey combinations, none of which featured “Oakland” across the chest. The Warriors always were spiritually unsettled. They accepted Oakland as a convenient “home” largely because in the 1970s there was no better arena in Northern California.

That’s why this move should not raise the envy of anyone in Oakland. How many tears should be shed over losing something you never had?

The Warriors were born 73 years ago in Philadelphia, where they spent their first 16 seasons. They then moved to California, where for nine seasons they were the San Francisco Warriors, taking team photos on cable cars and playing most of their games at the Cow Palace in Daly City, a few steps south of San Francisco.

There is little evidence of animosity from San Franciscans when the Warriors moved to Oakland in 1971. They were leaving the Cow Palace, a musty 30-year-old warehouse that wheezed with the breeze and on a good night could almost fit 13,000 folks.

The Oakland Coliseum Arena was less than five years old. It had an exterior made mostly of glass, cut in the shape of diamonds. It had modern amenities, easy freeway access and expansive parking. It also held 2,500 more seats than the Cow Palace.

The move was ... a change of address for the purposes of business.

The Warriors didn’t come to Oakland because it was seduced by its blue-collar ethos. They came for a better sports arena. They stayed through renovation and name changes – Oracle Arena being the latest – because it was the superior sports arena in the central Bay Area.

And that will be true until Saturday, when Stephen Curry and Draymond Green lead the Warriors in their preseason opener against the Lakers, who presumably will unveil their latest superstar duo, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The real star will be Chase Center, which by then should be dusted, polished and fully operational, cables tucked out of view, ladders put away and not a hard hat in the house.

Warriors CEO Joe Lacob likes to say the arena is built for basketball. It’s fabulous, almost ornate. Its exterior has, like Oracle, plenty of glass, giving it an airy feel. Its concourses are wide, its sightlines clean. It has 21st-century amenities, with enough private rooms to find a different one for each game until 2044.

Its vehicle access is diabolical and its parking severely limited, but, hey, some elements should capture the charm of San Francisco.

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Now, some East Bay folks are vowing not to cross the bridge, saying they’ll root for the Warriors from the comfort of living rooms and nearby bars. Much of this is based on the cost of attending, which for many is prohibitive. Part of it is the teeth-clenching treachery of the trip. And part of it is that they feel abandoned.

They shouldn’t. Bitterness over the team’s departure from Oakland shouldn’t be a factor. Unlike the Raiders, who were born and bred in Oakland, the Warriors always rented space. They just did so for so long, sprinkling enough good deeds, that some considered it a marriage.

It was good while it lasted, but the Warriors never said, “I do.” They saved that for Saturday.

Steph Curry, daughters soak in Sabrina Ionescu’s latest triple-double

Steph Curry, daughters soak in Sabrina Ionescu’s latest triple-double

Steph Curry has followed Sabrina Ionescu since her junior year of high school in Orinda. So naturally, when the University of Oregon basketball star returned to the Bay for the final time in her collegiate career Friday night, the Warriors star went to Haas Pavilion to watch her and the Ducks face the Cal Bears.

After Ionescu registered her seventh of the season and the 25th triple-double of her career in Oregon's 93-61 win, GOAT met GOAT, along with two special guests -- Curry's daughters, Riley and Ryan.

Curry clearly is a fan of Ionescu, who dropped 17 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Berkeley. She is nine rebounds away from becoming college basketball’s first 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound, 1,000-assist player.

"Everything," Curry told Pac-12 Network's Kate Scott when asked what has impressed him about Ionescu since he first learned of her. "It's hard to pick one thing. Just her passion for the game, her leadership. She has got that winning mentality, and every night, she just appreciates being out on the floor and bringing it.

"She makes her teammates better but still plays her own game. The triple-doubles are nice, too, but she just has it all."

"Stats, they mean a lot," Curry added, "but when you get to watch somebody -- and, like I said, the passion that she brings, it's in her eyes. The competitive nature that she has, you can't teach that. She could be blessed with all the talent in the world, but if she didn't have that, she wouldn't be who she was."

Curry had great seats on the baseline at Haas, but he wasn't alone. He had his two daughters taking it all in with him.

"This is a pretty awesome experience," Curry said of being there with his daughters. "This is their first women's basketball game, so I'm excited to share that with them. Riley has been asking about it all day. 'When are we going? When are we going?' So, hopefully Sabrina teaches her something."

Curry isn't certain his daughters will follow in his own footsteps, but he believes they can learn plenty from Ionescu, both on and off the court.

"I think it's important in terms of role models that they can look up to," Curry described the gravity of Ionescu's impact. "I don't know if they're going to play basketball or not, but if they do, then I'm definitely going to put on some Sabrina clips and let them know this is how you play the game the right way."

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Steph won't have to search long for those clips. As impressive as she has been, Ionescu is just getting started.

Mic'd-up Ky Bowman brings fun, passion to recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice

Mic'd-up Ky Bowman brings fun, passion to recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice

The Warriors are in the midst of one of the worst seasons in franchise history, currently averaging nearly four losses for every win. They only have two winning "streaks" so far, and in the face of constant losing, it would be completely understandable if the team's morale suffered.

Yes, there have been extended periods throughout the course of the season during which Golden State has hung its heads. After all, this is a stark contrast to the reality the franchise has recently become used to. But, thanks to an influx of new players, most of which are young and fighting for their NBA opportunities, the Warriors have managed to have plenty of fun amid all the losses.

Given what Ky Bowman said while mic'd up at a recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice, and it's easy to see why.

Have a look for yourself in the video at the top of the page.

He doesn't ever seem to slow down or stop talking, and it sure looks like his enthusiasm is contagious. Bowman has gone back and forth between Golden State and Santa Cruz this year, and he brings that lively spirit with him wherever he goes.

Thanks to his own determination, the hope is that he won't be making that trip much more often. After going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, Bowman signed a two-way deal with Golden State. However, he outperformed that, and the Warriors signed him to a standard, multi-year NBA contract on Feb. 7.

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Bowman appears to be a part of the Warriors' future, which should include plenty more laughs.