UPDATE: Here’s some insight on Joe Lacob from the majority owner of the Boston Celtics, Wyc Grousbeck.
“Joe has been a world class partner at the Celtics, honest, team oriented and knoweledgeable. He has long wanted to own his own team. He brings business accomplishment and has won in business becuase he is a team builder. His record is identifying and building winning teams. He loves basketball, and is a real competitor. He is a great fit for the Warriors. I told him good luck but we will try to kick his tail for the next few decades.”
I’m already a fan of Joe Lacob. I put in a call to him this morning when I heard he was buying the Warriors. And guess what? He called me back! What a refreshing turn of events, an owner calling back the beat writer for the team! And he gave me a few minutes.
God bless you, Joe Lacob.
OK, enough of my selfish rambling. Here is Lacob in his words, Q&A style. (Save you the agony, he declined comment on who is in and who is out.)
How does it feel to fulfill your dream?
LACOB: “It’s a great, great feeling. I live in the Bay Area and have for almost 30 years. I’m a Warriors fan. A season-ticket holder. A Stanford basketball guy. This is a dream come true.”
When do you start making decisions and making this franchise yours?
LACOB: “I’m not going to talk about that. But we’ve thought about this. We’re fans just like everybody else. We think we understand what has to be done. But I’m going to take my time. We’ve got to close this deal first. We’ve got to get league approval.”
Many fans wanted Larry Ellison to buy the team and are disappointed now. You think they’ll be pleasantly surprised by you?
LACOB: “I hope so. I personally don’t really know (what other groups bid). It was an auction process, so who knows what really went on. We did what we felt was right. We’ve been in it all the way.”
“I’m incredibly proud of the fact that we stayed out of the news. We were not under the radar with respect to Chris Cohan. We did our due diligence. I think we wanted it more than the other guys and I think we are more knowledgeable about basketball than all these others guys. And if I didn’t think so we wouldn’t have done this.”
“We’re there. We got it. We’re all about winning. We think it’s a very good opportunity as a business enterprise and the potential is there. But this is all about winning. We’re going to change the course of the franchise.”
Coming in and turning around the Warriors could make you a legend in these parts. Is that the hope?
LACOB: “We’re fans, too. We all think we can do this better than the current owner. We all do. Certainly, it occurred to us that given the history we could wind up looking pretty good. With their record (on the court), you couldn’t go much lower than that, to be honest. But we’re going to try to do everything we can to do a better job.”
“I do want to say that they did a good job. Things on the business side have been very, very well. Obviously, I know it’s all about the results on the court. We all get judged on results and I expect and I expect to be judged on the results.”
What do you think of the recent moves, specificially acquiring David Lee
LACOB: “I’m not going to comment on that. I know they are doing the best they can do.”
Many think $450 is an overpay. Why do you feel like it’s a fair price?
LACOB: “All I can say is that we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t think it was a fair price. We obviously analyzed it very carefully. As you know, I am part owner of the Celtics. So I know all the (financial) numbers. I know how this compares and how this doesn’t compare. Look, this is a fantastic market. It’s I think 5th largest market in the country. One of the wealthiest bases of fans with the opportunity for sponsorships and partnerships and all that. There is a helluva an opportunity here.”
Before you go, how do you celebrate the feat of buying an NBA franchise?
LACOB: “Maybe get some sleep. (Laughs) I haven’t gotten much trying to get this done.”
“It’s a great day. I’ve built a lot of companies in my day. I know what’s involved. This is a real challenge. This is going to take a lot of work, a lot of hard work. We’re prepared to do that.”
“The No. 1 thing (fans need to know): we’re going to do our damnedest to bring the Warriors to respectability on the basketball court.”