When Steph Curry scored a career-high 62 points in January, the Warriors' games notes illuminated the moment in history.
Curry’s previous high was 54, in 2013 at Madison Square Garden.
He was the first Warriors player to score at least 62 points since Rick Barry in 1974.
Reporters on deadline could easily find bullet points about Curry’s highs and Warriors records going back decades, thanks to the game notes written by Darryl Arata, the team’s director of publications and statistical information.
For every game, Arata compiles approximately a 40-page PDF, emailed to reporters with stats, trends, moments in history, season highs, all-time highs, games missed to injuries, starting lineups game-by-game for the season, player bios and more.
A page from the Warriors’ game notes commemorating Steph’s 62-point game.
It’s a detailed catalog of Warriors history. Arata collates data from box scores, the NBA’s Media Central, Elias Sports Bureau and league cumestats, all updating nightly with the most recent numbers.
It’s essential to get the numbers right, and Darryl works long hours postgame to prepare the next game’s notes. His job intensifies on the nights the Warriors play back-to-back.
“It helps that I'm a night owl. I function better later at night, so it's easier for me to finish it up, get it out there, have a peaceful sleep,” Arata said, when sleep might come close to dawn.
Darryl grew up in Oahu, Hawaii and graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Hawaii.
His entry into the NBA started in 1996 when he landed an internship with his favorite team, the Chicago Bulls, at the beginning of another championship cluster. He was 23.
Arata remembers the time Michael Jordan tried to kick him out of the locker room. He was working on a story with Robert Parish for a team publication called BasketBull. During a pregame conversation in the locker room, Jordan barked at him.
“As I'm talking to Robert Parish with a tape recorder in my hand ... Jordan walks in and he says, ‘Hey! It's too early. What are you doing in here,' " Arata recalled.
Jordan mistook intern Arata for a reporter, and there are strict rules about when media can be in the locker room. Arata name-dropped his boss, Tim Hallam, the Bulls’ public relations legend still working for the team today. Jordan backed off.
Arata also remembers Steve Kerr’s game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals. It was the only time Arata got to sit courtside that season, and he’s in a photograph of the crowd at the moment Kerr drained the shot.
Darryl Arata was working the night Steve Kerr hit the game-winning three-pointer in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals.
Kerr said Arata has given him a few mementos, like pictures or pennants, from the days they overlapped with the team.
“Sometimes he’ll find something lying around in his garage or closet,” Kerr said. “Darryl is a great guy. We always share a sarcastic thought or joke together.”
The Bulls hired Arata full-time after his internship for roles in ticket sales and media relations through 1999. He was happy his dad Calvin got to brag to his golfing buddies that his son worked for the Bulls.
Arata loved his time in Chicago, but he felt homesick. He also experienced the Blizzard of ‘99, one of the worst snowstorms to ever cripple the city. The Oahu kid went home.
Arata spent some time working with the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team, but the NBA called him back in 2000. A friend who worked for the Seattle SuperSonics let him know the Kings were hiring.
Arata had never been to Sacramento before but liked the proximity.
“It's a lot closer than Chicago is to home so I thought, you know, why not,” he explained.
He discovered ARCO Arena was in the middle of a wheat field. Nothing around the arena was developed when he joined the team as the manager of basketball information.
It was the start of a 16-year span for Arata with the Kings. In 2001, “The Greatest Show on Court” was soaring in popularity with Vlade Divac, Jason Williams and Chris Webber on the roster.
Arata was promoted to director of basketball information, leading team communications. Each team’s director builds a friendly relationship with other teams’ directors. The long tedious hours, the travel and the constant ping of media requests make the people who hold these roles feel like kin.
At Summer League after the 2015-2016 season concluded, Raymond Ridder, the Warriors’ director of communications at the time, asked Arata if he’d like to work in the Bay Area.
Kevin Durant committed to the team on the Fourth of July. Media demands were about to explode. Arata said yes.
Darryl Arata and Steve Kerr celebrate a Warriors championship.
In his role as Golden State’s director of publications and statistical information, Arata does more than game notes. He’s in charge of writing and assembling the season guides, distributed to media at the beginning of the year. These books are about the size of a "Moby Dick" paperback.
He also creates the postseason guide. In the internet age, the NBA no longer mandates these guides come out as hard copies. But reporters appreciate them.
“We are kind of old school in the sense that we do still print them out. I think it still makes a nice keepsake,” Arata explained. “It’s also sometimes easier to use. Some media people have told me before it's a lot easier to open a book on a plane than it is to try to fumble and pull them off a computer.”
Arata’s willingness to go the extra mile impressed Ridder.
“Darryl is simply the best. His passion, work ethic, and devotion to his job are unparalleled. I’d put him up against anyone in pro sports in his job function, and knew immediately he was the person we wanted to hire,” said Ridder, who's now the Warriors' senior vice president of communications.
Reporters aren’t the only ones who appreciate the guide books. They’re a favorite collector’s item for his mother, Helene.
“My mom does look forward to when I send her the media guide," Arata said. "And I think this is funny, but she really likes the postseason guides.
“We have articles [the department] painstakingly puts together. She loves reading those stories about the team and the players. My mom was a school librarian. She's a huge lover of books.”
When Arata considered he has spent more than two decades working in the NBA, he took a reflective pause.
“It's just really nice to be lucky. And where in the world you think you could end up, where you're thankful for all the people that you've come across and work with ... I'm just very fortunate,” he said.