32

He No Longer Believes


Courtesy of Tony.PSD

I caught up with Paul Wong, the creator of the “We Believe” movement back in 2007. I was the first person to write about him, when he was brought to my attention by the Warriors back in 2007. Man, he sounds different. Like he’s had his heart ripped out or something.
He was soooooo zealous about the Warriors. It almost cost him dearly. So to hear him talking about washing his hands of the Warriors is a trip.

Wong: “I’m boycotting the Warriors business practices! They know that another fan will snatch up my seats in a heart beat and I truly believe that’s why people renew because they don’t want to lose their great seats, which has taken years for them to get. Warrior season ticket holders need to make a stand. I WILL NOT STEP ONE FOOT IN ORACLE ARENA , yet I will still be rooting for my beloved Warriors.”

His departure as a season-ticket holder (he said he’d been a STH for more than 10 years) is more symbolic than anything.


His disdain epitomizes how far and fast the Warriors have fallen from grace. Talking to him, it sounds like they could have won him over. All he wanted was a relative gesture of appreciation.
The letter he wrote to team president Robert Rowell is below. He got confirmation that Rowell has received the letter. But Wong said he hasn’t received any response, which irritates him consider the team’s talk-directly-to-fans push. Wong said he thinks the team sees him as a whiner.

Wong: “For starting the “We Believe” movement, I would like a personal “Thank You” from Robert Rowell & Chris Cohan to my family (for unauthorized use of the “We Believe” and ruining the “Mojo” the following season) and the renewal of our season tickets courtesy of GSW.”

Does it matter, in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. The Warriors will gain and lose season ticket holders. But it is interesting how this “We Believe” thing turned out. I’m sure when Wong spent $5,500 that season printing up placards, in addition to his $6,000 on season tickets, he never thought this would be the result.


The letter:

April 13, 2009

Dear Mr. Rowell,

I have contemplated back and forth whether it’s worth my time to write in about the disappointment that I have with the warrior’s organization upper management, in specific you. No, this is not another angry season ticket holder blaming you for everything and anything that has happened to this team this season. Yet it’s about a die hard fan that has giving his heart & soul to help this organization from a decade of miseries to becoming the darling of not just the bay area but the NBA as well. Instead of the appreciation and recognition in return from the organization, I personally feel that I’ve been given the “cold shoulder”. I really don’t understand why we can’t receive a simple “Thank You” from you? I sit 5 feet from you. Every game that we attend I keep saying to myself this is the night that he’s going to come over to us and say “Thank You” for coming up with the “We Believe” and every night I leave disappointed. That negative feeling keeps escalating more and more as each game goes by, to the point there’s no feeling to the games we attend. On top of that, everywhere I turn these days all I see is your organization’s new mantra; “ WE CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU!”. Are you serious? If this organization’s truly meant that, I would absolutely renew this year! From the time of the “We Believe” season till now (final game of the season), have you or anyone from the executive team come to my family and I to tell us “Thank you, we could not have done it without you!” Do you know the events that took place that led to the magical “We Believe” season?

If not let me share with you:

3/7/07 vs. Denver – first “sign” of “We Believe Playoff”
3/9/07 vs. L.A Clippers – first game that “We Believe Go Warriors” original placards were passed out
3/12/07 vs. Dallas – original placards handed out
3/16/07 vs. Minnesota – original placards handed out
3/23/07 vs. Washington – original placards handed out
3/26/07 vs. San Antonio – original placards handed out
3/29/07 vs. Phoenix – original placards handed out, first sign of “We Believe” on national TV TNT
4/1/07 vs. Memphis – original placards handed out
4/9/07 vs. Utah – original placards handed out
4/13/07 @ Sacramento – original placards handed out at opposing team where you can hear the chant “Let’s go warriors!” through your TV sets. Took so much verbal abuse from Kings fans that night, but I finished wishing them luck their next game against the clippers because Warriors fans were cheering for them. You should of seen the look on their faces as the few of us were chanting “Let’s go Kings!” through out their arena after the game.
4/15/07 vs. Minnesota – original placards handed out as fans went into a frenzy when the
Sacramento Kings beat the clippers.
4/17/07 vs. Dallas – original placards handed out
4/18/07 @ Portland opening viewing @ Oracle- – original placards handed out as the place was in a frenzy!!

Prior to the beginning of 2007-2008 seasons, it was my understanding through our legal counsels that the Warriors would no longer be using “We Believe” in any of their promotions for the upcoming season. To my surprise, they were. I was angry, yet I was rather flattered that the organization’s marketing team could not come up with something original themselves.

The day before April 10, 2008 the biggest game of the year vs. Denver which we loss 114-105 I’d contacted Travis (not sure last name) of marketing to help me with the cost of printing and passing out of the original “we believe” placards but never received a phone call back. Since without my permission the organization could not use the “We Believe” mantra I decided to print out the placards myself with my own money once again to pass out at that game. When I’d arrived that night, I was devastated to find “We Believe” placards placed on every seat with TNT on the back of them. I was left simply speechless! YOU GUYS MESSED UP THE MOJO!! It was never about the compensations!!!!! It was about winning, and getting this team to the PLAYOFFS! It was about creating this special feeling of “We have each others back” within that complex which we all have created together. That was what made Warriors fans the best fans in the NBA which made it impossible to beat us at Oracle.

As devastated as I was, my son and I flew out to Phoenix 4/14/08 holding on to the slimmest hope of the chance of the playoff. I want to thank Raymond Ridder for the tickets yet I had to purchase upgraded seats so that fans back home and the team could see the “Warriors Mojo Fan” was there to support. If only Baron would have shown up too, another story there. I would never forget that game, Chris Mullin personally came up to my son and I to say thank you for everything that we were doing for the team while you continued on walking away. Sorry Mr. Rowell you’re not at the status of Chris Mullin yet he approached us instead.

Still no Love! Yet there was hope in sight. Danielle my awesome Rep informed me that my wife and I were going to be the “Season ticket holder of game” at the last game of the season 4/16/08 vs. Seattle. About time I recall saying to myself, it wasn’t a meet and greet with the players or compensation with free season tickets but hey it’ll do. My wife invited friends and families for that game. As we were all sitting there, to our disbelief that some other fans were the “Season ticket holder of game”. By then my phone was blowing up from friends and family wondering what had happened? Unfortunately, Danielle had to break the news to us that at the last minute someone changed their mind. O.K. here’s my ego coming out, but after all that I’ve done I couldn’t be recognized with a lousy bag with out of date corporate sponsor shirts?

Oh, I know what they’re going to recognize me in a more grander way:

The warriors are going to send their lucky “mojo” fan to the Lottery for good luck in hope of the first pick. NOPE! By the way the Kings and the Celtics did.
The warriors are going to recognize me at the opening night of the upcoming season. Nope, didn’t happen.

The president of the warrior’s is going to come shake the lucky “mojo” fan prior to every home game. Nope.

Is really funny that whenever media outlets, newspaper and news station ask me the same question, “What has the warrior’s done for you as a way to say thank you for? I would reply that the “Warriors are a class act organization and they will do what’s right when the time comes.” Well Mr. Rowell, I don’t have deep pockets like your corporate fans. I work hard to support my family and with this economy it doesn’t make sense spending our hard earned $5500 on a pair of seats supporting an organization that shows no love in return. I’m truly embarrassed that your organization has put me in this awkward position of asking to compensate my family for our efforts with a renewal of our 2 seats. I don’t think it’s asking for much since it’s that amount I’d put into the “We Believe” campaign. Believe it or not these seats mean a lot to my family and I, we have supported you financially for the past 10 seasons and I have supported this team all my life.

Mr. Rowell,

Do you believe in “KARMA”?
Baron opts out?
Monta get’s hurt?
Lose every buzzer beater game this season?
Season plague with injuries?

There’s a book out called “The Secret” and speaks of the “Law of Attraction” If you think it’s hog wash just reflect back to the “We Believe” season it originated from there through one die hard fan.

I really don’t know you but only through what I’ve heard, read & observe about you. As I write this I wonder if you even care what I have to say, yet I know you do. I know you are very passionate about this team and us fans. I can see it in your body language and the disgust that you have when the referees make an awful call. You are a public figure and I’m sure you are under the microscope on a daily basis. Could you please show the public who “Bobby” is. I’d met you and Mr. Cohan back in 2000 when I stop by the headquarters with pizzas for the staff from our pizza business, when introduced to me as Robert Rowell you corrected by saying call me Bobby. I also want to thank you for allowing me to pass the “We Believe” placards in your arena or we wouldn’t have shared the majestic season that we all did. I hope this letter help in regards to the feeling and insight of a die hard fan. Just truly mean it when you say:

“WE CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU”

Today is going to be our last game with you all; I would like thank all of your staff. They are simply the best, if it wasn’t for the love that they have shown us all these years this letter would’ve been written a long time ago.

I wish you and the organization the very best in all your endeavors. Please pack the house with true fans not with body counts.

GO WARRIORS!!!!

Sincerely,

Paul Alex Wong
“The Warrior Mojo Fan”
Sect 121 Row 2 Seats 9 & 10

Marcus Thompson

  • EJ

    What a disgusting organization.

  • J Canseco

    Sad. $20 says Bobby stews for a while then offers him back the seats at discount plus some kind of swag/peace offering.

  • Flunkster Dude

    Such a whiner.

  • Warrior Fan SJ

    Honestly this guy is quite obsessed with getting some attention. I know the Warriors management have been the suckiest of suck the past 15 years, but this guy is just being a baby. Didn’t they give him a plane ride and tix to a Jazz game?

  • Sparko Smellineli

    FIRE ROWELLL!!!

  • MRFJG_SON

    Sorry to hear about Wong and just another example of how the dubs FO doesn’t care about us, the fans, the STH’s, etc…It’s all about the money and will always be about the money no matter what the FO feeds us.

    Marcus, Please go on fitz and brooks and confront Fitz about some of the Warriorgate allegations and how not one call has been taken on the subject and Paul Wong has not even been talked about. MTII, come on man, I have tried to get through on the KNBR line but have either been just put on hold for way to long, over an hour and a half or just neva get through. MTII I know you can do it please be a voice for ailing Dubs fans.

  • Twinkie defense

    Geez, that is a little whiny and self-important. Do thing because you want to do them not because you expect someone to pat you on the back.

  • Flunkster Dude

    This year will NOT be a Great Time Out.

  • Where’sthecreamfilling?

    Twinky defense is an apologist. Beware anything he says.

  • Where’sthecreamfilling

    Twinkie Defense is an apologist. beware anything he says.

  • Mike

    All the guy wanted was a thank you and to be fan of the month(which the Warriors promised and then took away).

    He never asked for money, just asked for what the GSW’s promised, a small acknowledgment.

    Rowell turning his back on him and walking away while Mullin stopped and shook his hand and said Hi is all you need to hear to really realize how pathetic Cohan and his stooges truly are.

  • Booyow

    Sorry, but that letter doesn’t help our cause.

    A little bit too much self-righteousness to be taken seriously, in my opinion.

    It doesn’t dismiss the fact that whatever Cohan and Rowell touches, turns to crap, so perhaps Wong is better off.

  • TC Firehouse

    Sour grapes IMO. The generous Mr. Cohan never asked Paul to pay the sponsorship fee for passing out signs in the arena. What more does he want? The club would have charged anyone else if they wanted to use the teams’ arena to hand stuff out. The warriors franchise is very generous and all fans should bow down.

    Incidentally, when we get healthy we are going to be scary good. Other teams seem to always get lucky against us, but that will eventually stop. So fans like Paul will come back soon as our bad luck can’t last forever. Larry Riley is not a puppet. I don’t understand how people don’t get how valuable his ability to relate to Nellie will be for this club.

    Anyway, the Fighting Irish will make a huge comeback in college football this season – so I am happy.

  • darkknight01

    “Bobby” doesn’t give a crap…because he is a corporate stooge and only cares about his own ego and how he can rip the next “fan” off by charging him double the price to replace the we belive kids seats.

    “Bobby” is all about finding the next sucker!

  • deano

    Paul: In case you read this blog, you are a hero to Warrior fans. Your We Believe campaign was brillant, inspiring and effective. You made a difference. You should have been nomninated for the NBA’s Sixth Man Of the Year.

    And now, with your selfless, sacrificial refusal to renew your seats, you are again expressing the passion and perspective of the vast majority of Warrior fans. We all hate what management did to our team last September and October. Thank You!

  • http://cctimes ECJ

    It’s funny.. It seems to make so much sense to us as observers. Why is it that the Warrior front office can’t seem to see things that are so blatantly obvious?

    Take care of your fans
    Take care of your superstars (BD, Monta)
    Hire good people to run your organization
    Be good to the media who cover you, they shape the public’s perspective.

    I’m a regular guy, I know this. Why don’t they?

    ECJ

  • A’s in 2009

    IP check on Twinkie Defense, please.
    ;)

  • Bob Fitzgerald

    Warriors will win 82 games this season, march into the playoffs, and win 16 games in a row. Don Nelson is the greatest coach ever. Larry Riley is the greatest GM in the history of basketball, I don’t care if the only thing he has done is go to the lottery. Robert “Bobby” Rowell is the greatest FO man in the history of the Warriors, and probably the history of the Universe. I love them all so much, I wish I was in a Nelson, Rowell and Riley sandwich!

    P.S. You’re better than that Marcus.

    P.P.S. Please don’t trace this back to Warriors Headquarters, I won’t be able to use Bobby’s laptop, from his lap, anymore.

  • Bob Fitzgerald

    Also, Twinkie Defense, well said. I was trying to think of the words to express how I feel, but I think you so cleverly, and accurately, expressed exactly what I wanted to say. Wow. I keep reading it over, and over, and over, and I come away amazed everytime. You’re a genius.

  • “The Ricker”

    Please check Twinkle Dingkle Defenses’ IP. He could be working for “them”.

    Signed,

    Robert Fitzflunkster

  • RN

    Sorry, but Twinkie has a point. Has the W’s management been a mess and made some bad decisions and PR moves the last two years? Yes, Yes, and Yes! Was Paul Wong a dedicated fan who came up with a nice idea? Yes! But his need for personal recognition and his seeming devastation over not getting it is also unfortunate. There are plenty of very dedicated 20 year + season ticket holders, I myself being one, who are not sitting around waiting for Chris Cohan to shake our hands. Obviously he is not Mr. Personality ala Mark Cuban. So just move on. No one is more bothered by Chris Mullin leaving the organization than me, but it is time to move on and appreciate that we have some very nice young players and a good coaching staff. And no I don’t work for the W’s. It is just time to give Riley a chance, that’s all.

  • Ray

    I kind of wish I hadn’t read that. I thought this article already did a great job of empathizing with Wong: http://www.mercurynews.com/morningbuzz/ci_12454892?nclick_check=1

    His letter to Bobby does make him seem come off as whiny and attention whorish. I think it’s unrealistic to expect the Warriors to give him season tickets. He does deserve appreciation from Warrior management, but publicizing that letter wasn’t the best way to go about it.

  • Perry

    I mean it’s just so silly……….you have an absolutely ground-breaking season in 2007-2008, you got players that want to be a part of it, …..J. Rich, M. Barnes, Al Harrington, M. Pietrus……..you got the best out of a guy who all his career had been questioned by media, fans and coaches, in Baron Davis……..you have all of the National attention on you as the NBA family was beginning to regard the Golden State Warriors as a true franchise, a well-managed organization.

    You groom a well-respected NBA man in Chris Mullin into a role that he performed better than any other in the last decade for this organization. You turn around and make an absolutely transcending move in acquiring 2 NBA proven starters in AH and Stephen for a bunch of black-listed players in Dunleavy and Murphy.

    You got TNT and ESPN showing Chris Mullin, standing in the aisles,………….. like Jerry West, proudly watching his young Warriors,…. blowing the 60 win Dallas Mavericks out of the arena and sending them back home to Fortworth.

    You went 16-5 in the last 21 games in 2007-2008.

    I remember driving home one night listening to D. Bruce on KNBR, on a mid-spring evening, I would say …….., maybe Game # 60 of that 2007-2008 season….. I can’t remember the exact game, you will have to excuse me, ladies. We had just come off a patented Warrior losing streak that included a 3 game sweep on the road. We were probably around 14 games under .500 at that point.

    J. Rich and BD both injured, not playing.

    I remember D. Bruce at that point putting the season in the basket, calling the Golden State Warriors a below average team.

    Then we went 16-5, you guys remember that Baron Davis was injured and came back for that stretch. But it didn’t completely come together until J. Rich came back from his injury during that stretch, pushing this squad to a 16-5 finish in 2007-2008, clinching their 1st playoff berth in over a decade on that mild evening in Portland, Oregon.

  • Perry

    Correction, correction please……..I can’t believe I messed that up……….please correct my last post…….the 2006-2007 season, not the 2007-2008 season…..I can’t believe I did that

  • JustPuked

    While Paul’s letter did come off a little whinny, he’s got a point. If his seats were indeed five feet from Bobby’s and the guy can’t even acknowledge Paul for coming up with the We Believe campaign, well it’s easy to think Bobby’s grasp of fan appreciation is sorely lacking. Getting comped for season tickets is ridiculous but just wanting a simple acknowledgment and thank you is just common sense…unless…

    Consider Bobby and Cohan’s litigious background. Cohan’s got a rep for playing hardball in the courts and the second they got a whiff of Mr. Wong wanting ANY form of compensation for coming up with the WB campaign AND that he’d possibly HIRED A LAWYER and it’s easy to see Bobby/Cohan going into full protectionism mode. Zero acknowledgment, zero angles for Paul to pursue just in case he decided to use the attorney with whom he consulted. Paul’s desire to “push” Bobby and the Warriors into acknowledging through legal representation may have been the exact move that kept it from ever happening. Just a thought.

  • Perry

    “TC Firehouse”……are you trying to be sarcastic and impersonate Bob Fitzgerald with the Notre Dame comment? Or do you seriously believe what you wrote?

    News flash partner!…….Our bad luck HAS lasted forever……where the hell have you been for the last fucking 12 years?……….Fucking dork

    “When we get healthy”…………are you serious?

    Did you watch the Western Conference playoffs?

    Did you see the teams that we are going to compete against next year in the West?……Portland, Houston, Denver, L.A..?……

    You really think we are going to be “Scary Good” as you say?

    I think Houston, Denver, Portland and L.A. will run us over with a fucking truck on the court next year in every single meeting.

    We will be one of the worst teams in the league next year unless we make a blockbuster move and add a quality, proven NBA difference maker………the list is short, but I think we should focus on Chris Bosh,…..and if Stoudemire wants out….let’s look at him as well…….PG wise….unless we can get Chauncey Billups….I don’t think anyone will make a difference.

    But I truly feel that no matter what position it is, we need a true super-star caliber player,…….it wont make a difference what position he plays…the 1, the 4…..doesn’t matter…..if he’s good and if he’s a difference maker……..then he will help our squad.

    “TC Firehouse”……..The “Fighting Irish” comment makes me think that you may be being sarcastic and trying to impersonate Bob Fitzherald, the Notre Dame alum

  • Kommon Senze

    Per MT2′s updated info, I think the reason RR didn’t ‘thank’ him personally was because Mr. Wong slapped the Warriors with what amounted to a frivolous lawsuit. Ironic that it would be Paul Wong’s litigiousness that soured the relationship, given Cohan’s own propensity for slapping anyone and everyone with a lawsuit.

    I agree that Wong comes off as self-absorbed and whiny, which is a shame, but it doesn’t absolve the Warriors for aspects of their customer relations that have been rather shoddy. All this proves is that there can be douchebags on either side of a dispute.

    The bloggers who take a “self-righteous” attitude on everything anti-Warrior should take note. The Warriors have plenty of reasons to be criticized, but just because they have problems doesn’t mean everything you say, by default, is true or is vindicated.

  • TimRoi

    Rowell is the #1 douchebag in the Bay Area.

    Welcome to another 25-57 season, W’s.

  • DW

    Hey Kommon,

    >The Warriors have plenty of reasons to be criticized, but just because they have problems doesn’t mean everything you say, by default, is true or is vindicated.

    <<The fact that they don’t address things like Paul WOng or Warriorgate is the reason why we feel ‘vindicated’ when we criticize. You can’t do business in the shadows the way that the Warriors have and expect to get away with it much longer. Kommon, we looked up someone’s IP Address to show the world that the W’s are full of crap. We are very smart fans. It’s only gonna get worse.

  • Pingback: Two Simple Rules (To Following the Golden State Warriors) – The No-Look Pass

  • Pingback: 2009-10 Golden State Warriors Season Preview – The No-Look Pass

  • Emelina Carberry

    Wonderfully crafted response! Hope all is well Steve.