"Holy Toledo!"

May 16, 2007

The Greatness of the Warrios is in it’s Future

Filed under: Baskettball — Bill @ 12:27 am

Just two months ago had anyone told you the Warriors would be playing a basketball game on May 15th you wouldn’t have believed them.  Sadly for the Golden Staters the train came to a screeching halt tonight in Utah, but let’s put things into perspective.

Normally this is about the time when Warrior fans are calculating how many ping pong balls they have in the draft lottery, not this year.  Instead the players will be flying home tonight about to face the hardest day for any professional athlete, the day he has to clean out his locker at the end of a season.

This group of underdogs achieved far more than even they will ever admit they thought possible.  They have so much to build upon, and some nice memories to look back on with pride.

There was that stretch run in late March into early April that finally put an end to years of misery.  Big wins, exciting wins, and credibility earned for a new managing team, as well as some key players who never wavered in their beliefs or abilities.  It all came to fruition on a night in Portland, a site where they had suffered so often in the past.  The Warriors earned a trip to the NBA Playoffs.

Then came the #1 seed Dallas Mavericks and the NBA’s MVP, certainly the W’s wouldn’t have a chance.  Forty eight minutes later the fortunes of a few basketball players, a losing franchise, and a region of their fans could finally say, “We Believe!”  At last this team had it’s chance to play in front of it’s loyal fans and give them all a chance to shine in front of a national television audience.  And did they ever!

What followed was a frenzy that boiled over not just in the Bay Area, but the nation as well.  The Warriors exciting brand of play caught the interest of even the casual NBA fans, and TV ratings for Warrior games skyrocketed.

Perhaps the season could be defined by Game 4 vs. Dallas in Oakland on Sunday night April 30th.  Well respected and long time writer Bruce Jenkins, who has attended probably more than a thousand sporting events, claimed that this was the loudest crowd he had ever witnessed.  The underdog W’s beat the Mavericks 103-99.  One could argue that this was the most exciting day in Bay Area sports since 1994 when the 49ers beat San Diego in Super Bowl XXIX (some Giants & Raiders fans might disagree but even as a Raiders fan myself, I don’t).

There were some ugly moments along the way, but let’s keep focused on what is in the future for this team.  Back on January 17th when the W’s traded away Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, & Ike Diogu to the Pacers for Harrington & Jackson the only positive consideration given was that this trade was “a good cap friendly trade.”  Well here we are four months and five playoff wins later and it is still a good cap friendly trade.

All of this TV exposure has catapulted the Warriors into the place to be for future free agent basketball players. What a difference five wins makes.  Would you rather play a boring slow down game in Cleveland or New Jersey, or play a run & gun game in front of Jessica Alba?  This young cap friendly Warriors team has a chance to be really good next season.  Now Chris Mullin needs to go to work and prove he can build a winner, but he better act quickly because Nellie ain’t getting any younger.  Did you notice the color of his hair?

The legendary Bill King, who you know was looking on tonight,  would have added, “This incredible, impossible dream of a season has finally reached it’s tumultious end tonight in Utah, Holy Toledo!”

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