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Warriors Error Isn’t In Leaving, But Lacking Compassion for Die-Hard Oakland Fans

My wife is always on me about this. When I know I’m right, I’m so concerned about expressing my rightness that I forget a critical element — how I say it.

After a day of digesting the Warriors’ pending move to San Francisco, after listening to Oaklanders and East Bay die-hards lament their team’s departure, after witnessing the Warriors and supporters of the new arena justify the decision to leave while dismissing the ensuing outrage, I couldn’t help but think of my wife’s reminder.

It’s how you said it.

That’s where the Warriors went wrong. But before I offer my explanation of the negative reaction to the Warriors’ announcement Tuesday, I need to get a few qualifiers out of the way:

1. Joe Lacob and Peter Guber committed $450 million to buy the Warriors’ franchise. They’re committing to at least $500 million for a new arena. They can build wherever they want. It’s a right for which they’ve paid.

2. It’s just basketball. I know, jobs are being lost and a blow to the economy is expected. But I can’t be mad that working class people in San Francisco will get jobs. And I believe, even after the Warriors leave, Oakland will still exist and maybe thrive, albeit in a new way. Basketball teams are made by cities, not the other way around. The NBA may have had a special place in Oakland, but it doesn’t define Oakland, and there is plenty of more important work to be done than keeping a sports team.

3. It’s a smart move. It was an inevitable move. And seeing the vision for the arena, perched on waterfront with a backdrop that would make Ansel Adams switch to color, even Oaklanders understand the move.

With that said, this thing could have been executed much better. The proper respect wasn’t paid to a segment of the fan base that kept the franchise relevant and viable despite itself.

The Warriors displayed Mitt Romney-esque sensitivity as they choreographed their departure, and it began the day Lacob and Guber bought the franchise. Blinded by millionaire dreams, it seems they didn’t spend much time pondering the proper tip o’ the cap to the thousandaires they’re hurting.

It should come as no surprise that a big business doesn’t get it. And the Warriors clearly didn’t. That was painfully obvious to lovers of Oakland as they used business logic to explain an emotional matter.

To the die-hards who fill out Club 200, who are most responsible for the Warriors’ impressive attendance, it’s patronizing to hear you suggest it’s not that much further. To the bus driver who spends a day’s salary taking his two kids to the game. it’s insulting when your rebuttal is that 50 percent of your season-ticket holders are from San Francisco.

I’m not saying they should stay. My contention is not that they sacrifice their vision and plans for the sake of others’ nostalgia. However, there was a way to say goodbye, and it isn’t “We had a great time with you, but this new girl who wants me is smoking hot.”

If I may, I’ll explain what I mean using this word I examined during Bible study: meekness. Simply, without preaching and getting all into Greek definitions, meekness is strength brought under control for the benefit of others. It’s being in the right but making sure not to use it to make others feel bad. It’s having power, but being concerned enough about those beneath you to alter your behavior for their sake. It’s being cognizant of how your superiority, your upper hand, your favor impacts those not in such a position.

The Warriors could’ve used a little meekness.

I believe they knew when they bought the team San Francisco was the destination. At the very least, they knew that was the most likely scenario. Understanding that, knowing the Warriors’ days on this side of the water were numbered, why not have your ritzy press conferences in the East Bay as a way of thanking those communities?

Why not just lay it all out on the table from the beginning, when they bought this team, instead of the “we’re looking into all options” baloney. Say you just spent $450 million and you need this franchise to be worth $800 million some day, and doing that means moving across the water and pricing out many hard-core fans. Say, if it was true, Oakland has a shot of keeping the Warriors, but it’s going to take a lightweight miracle.

Oakland can handle the truth and would’ve respected real talk. This city has digested its fair share of tragedy and heartache. This city is used to losing out to the sparkling metropolis across the pond. It’s how Oakland gets its character, its resolve, its loyalty. The Warriors could’ve been straight up from the beginning and likely would’ve gotten a collective dap from the city.

But the boos, the feeling disrespected, is a product of the Warriors’ acting. Acting as if Oakland had a shot of keeping the team. Acting as if the history and memories meant as much to the new owners as they do to the fans who’ve proudly endured ridicule for wearing your colors. Acting as if calling them the best fans in the world means you understand them, you’re with them.

A little meekness, and this all would’ve played out differently. Would there have been angry fans anyway? Of course. It’s an emotional, heart-rending experience to have your favorite team bounce. Just ask Seattle natives like Jamal Crawford who are still smarting about their Sonics’ discontinuance. But some of the blow could have been mitigated with more compassion.

Some of the disdain is because Golden State’s methods thumped Oakland’s funny bone. This city is hypersensitive about being deemed inferior, especially to San Francisco, and the Warriors all but shouted that from the rooftops on Tuesday.

No doubt, a new arena in Oakland would make for an awesome setting. It wouldn’t be Staples, instead more like what Oklahoma City, Utah, Indiana and San Antonio boast. Still, it would’ve rivaled any fan base in the country with its fancy new digs but grassroots, small-market passion.

Of course, that takes a certain kind of ownership, one passionate about the area and comfortable with sufficiency and sustainability. But people know Lacob and Guber are not East Bay guys. They knew the lure of the grandiose across the water would overpower the niche the Warriors’ had in Oakland. And that is OK.

But in their pursuit of the extravagant, they missed an opportunity to appreciate the simple and pure, to give much-earned props.

An example came at the announcement. Mayor Ed Lee, Joe Lacob, Peter Guber – they all failed to pay respects to Al Attles and Nate Thurmond. You don’t get more Oakland than those guys. It took David Stern and Jerry West to give proper due. (Wouldn’t have hurt to have a few longtime season-ticket holders from Oakland there, pay homage to the jilted segment of the fan base through them.)

I don’t even live an Oakland anymore. But I worship at the Church of Christ on 34th and San Pablo Avenue, where people have been known to ask me about Stephen Curry’s ankle in between songs. I can’t walk into DreamCutz barbershop on Dutton Avenue and not hear a few Warriors fans defending their loyalty to the inevitable Lakers fan in the debate. I’ve seen the abounding joy on the faces of East Oakland Youth Development Center students who, despite it being a school night, got to take a field trip to a Warriors game.

Again, there is nothing wrong with Lacob and Guber moving the franchise to San Francisco. Even if it means jobs lost, a treasured staple in the city hijacked, another defeat to the favored sibling.  They have every right to place their potentially breath-taking arena in whichever greener pastures they desire.

The problem was in the how.

 

Marcus Thompson

  • http://feltbot.com/ feltbot

    Dead on and beautifully put, Marcus.

  • riskless

    That would be the best course of action but would limit the negotiation edge for the Warriors. There is never a good way to leave someone or place.

  • sleepy freud

    Its just across the bridge. The team is still in the Bay Area. Marcus it sounds like yopur having a personal issue. Good luck with that!

  • Triple Dizzle

    Some real truth MT2, great write up.

  • Mug-Z

    I thought it would have been a nice gesture to Oakland if Lacob & Guber said that the team would continue its outreach programs there, even after the move, and that the Warriors always plan to be part of the Oakland community. It would have set the right tone and would make it look like they weren’t wiping their hands clean of the East Bay.

    Let me add this: these guys are not from around here. Both are from Southern California. Their opulent, over-the-top press conference could not have struck a more discordant tone with most Warriors fans. I actually cringed when I saw what a spectacle it was, with Ahmad Rashad.and Newsom, among other B-level celebs who had no business being there.

    It would have been smart to let Al Attles speak because he would have said something genuine and graceful, like he always does, and it would have made all the Oakland fans feel better. But both of these blowhards (Lacob & Guber) decided to hog the limelight for themselves. I can’t get out of my head that when Lacob went on his media tour after the Mullin ceremony disaster, he kept insisting that he needed to speak that night because he’s the “face of the team.” That’s his problem: he BELIEVES that he is the face of the team but it’s only in his own warped mind. The players are what the Warriors are all about: Nate, Wilt, the Destroyer, Mully, Barry, Timmy and the Killer Crossover, and today’s stars like Steph and Klay. I think it’s clear that Lacob bought this team to become a celebrity. He wasn’t very well known in the VC industry (which is why everybody needed to Google him when he bought the team) and I think he believes that this is his moment in the sun and he’s going to play it to the hilt. Fans around here smell a fraud, and they don’t like this guy. I don’t think moving to SF will change that. He just doesn’t fit. He’s a SoCal cheeseball, and so is his partner, who best known for producing such cinematic masterpieces as “Tango & Cash.”
    It will be funny when this Pier 30-32 deal blows up in their face and they’re forced to grovel back to the Giants who will not be benevolent in the deal they cut with the new BlunderTwins.

  • chris

    Calm down Marcus. They had decades of losing basketball in Oakland. Time to move on. Whether they acknowledged the Oakland faithful in a proper is irrelevant. They’re trying to make this team relevant.

  • leonps

    In the 80′s, Oakland was the hot place. They need someone to buy the A’s and restore the A’s tradition of winning. The media, except for Glen Dickey, can’t favor the A’s move to San Jose and then bash Lacob for wanting to move to San Francisco.

  • Teresa Conti

    What is really shows is that the fan has become almost irrelevant to professional sports. The new stadium will be smaller than the old, and once boxes are added to be paid for the companies that no longer exist, less fans will be able to attend than do now. Great. If money was the problem, they could simply raise ticket prices. Obviously, other things are going on here.

  • TnSD11

    Marcus, you just can’t win with these commenters, can you? Yesterday, you didn’t care about Oakland, now you care too much.

    All I want to say is this post is dead-on accurate, and I appreciate your insight.

  • dereksmithfan

    Amen. I know the ownership, and I can’t begrudge them the choice they made. But I am disappointed that they never attempted to understand what Oakland has to offer. I tried to tell one of the owners that the first pro team to really CLAIM Oakland would be guaranteed a loyal fanbase forever.

    The bottom line is Oakland has an urban identity and vitality that no longer exists in places like New York or San Francisco, where vibrant, diverse communities that create true culture and art have simply been priced out. If the Warriors (or A’s) had been a little more Oaklandish, they could have seen what they really had, worked with it, and been ahead of the curve in terms of marketing and merchandizing – which always comes from the urban core. But of course that’s not how this story was meant to unfold.

    That said, Oakland is on the verge of coming into its own — with or without any pro teams. Even though it doesn’t yet have the worldwide recognition, it can compete head to head with the “gourmet ghetto” in Berkeley, and yes San Francsico too in terms of best cutting edge restaurants. Its political activism and work in social justice is leading the country. Even though I went to Berkeley and get nostalgic for what I think the free speech movement must have been like, the bottom line is Berkeley is all about theory, whereas Oakland it putting theory into practice…bringing it to the streets.

    Oakland is real, and great things are on the horizon. It’s time all of its sports fans to stop feeling abandoned, or like second class citizens. If the Warriors and A’s want to leave, let them go. It’s time for everyone who lives and loves Oakland to claim the city, celebrate what it is, and realize the potential that a couple of outsiders were never going to see.

    It is their loss.

  • Dylan

    I think that a good portion of the fans in the East Bay will love the new stadium when the ribbon is cut. Once the initial disappointment passes, the romance of an arena overlooking the bay will be tough for even the most bitter fans to resist. With ATT Park a few blocks away, that area of SF could become well known on a national level, and it’s not far-fetched to say that some players will be drawn to that type of environment.

    I agree completely that respect and appreciation should be shown towards the Oakland fan base, but maybe that type of reflection will happen when the move actually takes place.

    I just hope that the long-time W’s fans (myself included) can afford tickets when the move happens.

  • Young

    Good post thnx. Key point is that these guys are lousy executives (which I agree). Lacob anyway. I’m sure Guber is better, he has all the cash anywayz…

  • Steve

    “To the bus driver who spends a day’s salary taking his two kids to the game. it’s insulting when your rebuttal is that 50 percent of your season-ticket holders are from San Francisco.”

    Marcus, I enjoy your writing but please refrain from misquoting. Joe Lacob didn’t say “San Francisco”, he said “West Bay”.

    And speaking of geography, I was born and raised in the East Bay and some 60 years later still reside east of the Bay. Maybe I’m just a weird kinda guy but I’ve never been able to understand the captivation with “city limits”. I mean, Oakland vs Emeryville? Albany vs Berkeley? Richmond vs Hayward? SF vs Petaluma? Other than getting the postal dude to deliver your mail properly, what is the big deal here?

    I get the state “rivalry” thing. NY or Texas vs California, I understand all that. When people talk different than you it’s definite grounds for cynicism and contempt. LOL Seriously, we’re talking Bay Area sports here. And we’re not “losing” any of our beloved teams to one of the other 49 evil and sinister states.

    To even mention the Sonics in any sort of comparison is absurd. There’s a Milky Way-difference between taking a plane to OKC and riding BART to SF instead of Oakland.

    In the end this isn’t about an extremely small percentage of fans who actually live in Oakland and attend Warriors games. This is a continuation of the nitpicking and glass-half-empty analysis that’s been ongoing since Lacob et al outbid Larry Ellison for the Warriors.

    From overstating their exuberance in the form of playoff expectations, to trading the beloved Monta Ellis, to picking up a mic in an attempt to conclude Mullin halftime ceremonies, and now their plans for a new arena a few miles to the west of their current address, the new owners can’t win for losing, yet.

    The Warriors moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco in 1962 and played there for almost 10 years. For those years East Bay fans attended games and were simply convenienced by their move to Oakland in 1971. Well, guess what? They’re now “inconvenienced” by their move “back home”. Sonics fans (and maybe Kings fans shortly) should be so lucky.

    But by far the ultimate irony to this whole “Die-Hard Oakland Fans” premise is the fact that when the SAN FRANCISCO Warriors moved to Oakland they became the Golden State Warriors instead of the Oakland Warriors. Really? All this indignation for a team that never adopted it’s home address?

    Besides, the Warriors never should have been named “Golden State”. They’ve never represented the entire state but they have instead truly represented the entire Bay Area. The Bay Area Warriors is what they have been, are today, and will always be, regardless of their zip code. Get over it.

  • Jamie

    I don’t even agree with every single argument you made, but I think this might be the best piece of yours that I’ve read. The native Oaklander perspective is valuable, and the genuineness of the sentiment is moving. Nice work.

  • Myk04

    They did mention the possiblity of moving to SF as soon as they took over the team. If u believed the “exploring all options” comment you were not listening. Its one Bart stop away. Get over it! My Niners are moving further away. Im not crying. Im still a fan and dont feel slighted at all.

  • Steve

    They’re still in the bay area, Marcus. It’s nowhere near as bad as what Sonics fans dealt with or what folks in Sacramento may have in their future. No, it’s not convenient to go across that bridge, but east bay based Ws fans still can see their team play locally.

  • Harry

    They want to go back to San Francisco? Great….let them play at the Civic Auditorium and the Cow Palace.

  • http://runnin-n-gunnin.tumblr.com a-mark

    Great article. Being from San Jose where the move is mostly indifferent to me, this really puts into perspective the backlash from the East Bay that I haven’t fully understood. I do sympathize for the East Bay fans, and hope that they keep coming out to support our team, win or lose, east bay or peninsula. If a team’s truly there in your heart, you’ll be there for them.

    Keep up the good work.

  • tramaze

    the comment by steve is dead on!! lets just all be real for a minute and realize that the warriors isn’t and never was “oakland” team, it is a bay area team. Warrior come south bay, east bay, north bay and west bay!! so it really isn’t a big deal where the arena sits…. personally i think its a great idea to have it in the city! there be way more places to eat and drink within walking distance to the arena vs what oakland had. yes it will be more inconvenient for some people to get into the city to attend a game but i personally have no problem with that even though my commute from san jose will be longer….

  • Nick

    You expressed everything I’ve ever felt about the Warriors and even about Oakland. This is an amazing piece and I’m glad you wrote it. Much of this could even be said about the A’s. Thanks for writing this.

  • ArmChair GM

    Some of you guys just don’t get it. A sports team is more than about just a game. It’s more than just about X’s and O’s.

    As any school athletic program will tell you, Sports in its purest form is about character development. It is about Life skills. It is about team work. It is about perseverance and the power of the human spirit to achieve a common goal, sometimes despite overwhelming odds and hardship.

    That fact has been lost on corporate naming rights and luxury suites.

    The city of Oakland has been and continues to be disrespected and pit against the Sparkling City across the Bay.

    Despite the fact that most of the Bay Area’s NBA basketball talent actually comes from Oakland…including Bill Russell, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Brian Shaw, I can go on and on, somehow we are not a good enough city to actually have a team.

    Despite the fact that Oakland stepped up to the plate when SF couldn’t field an NBA worthy stadium to save its life in 1971 and provided the Oakland Areana…

    Despite the fact that the city of Oakland spent 100,000,000, That’s a 1 with 8 zeroes after it, to renovate the Arena in 1997…..

    Despite the fact that in 2000, that arena was good enough to have an NBA All Star Game in…

    Despite the fact that We Believe in 2007 which was the talk of the NBA happened primarily because of the grit and fervor of the Oakland/East Bay fan base…

    Despite all of this….We were never even considered good enough to have the name of our City attached to the team that we supported for 41 years.

    Like I said, Sports is about the perseverance of the human spirit, not just X’s and O’s and Luxury Boxes…

    That’s why you suburban guys don’t get it.

  • R

    Wow, this was excellent. Everyone saying the author has some personal issue about the move is missing the point – read the last paragraph again, like he says, it’s about the how, not the why.

    I hope that someone shows this to Lacob and/or Guber, and maybe they’ll realize it wouldn’t kill them to give ‘the best fans in the NBA’ a little more consideration before they head to San Francisco.

  • Bay Area Warriors

    sleepyfreud you’ve completely missed the whole point of this eloquently written article.

  • http://www.jeffwonderswhy.com Jeffwonderswhy

    Very well written. I sensed much more emotion between the words of this post than most of the pieces you post, and understandably so. What’s happening right now is undoubtedly very polarizing, but you make very fair points while still conceding that it’s a smart move for them.

    What resonated most was the very real truth that this move will, in fact, “price out” otherwise serious, long-time fans. Yes, they are moving some modest miles across the water, hardly a geographical roadblock. However, nestling in SOMA right on the water in one of the wealthiest cities in the nation (if not the wealthiest), all but assures inflated costs for everything beyond and including ticket prices. Will this stop those fans from going? Perhaps not, but it may reduce the amount of times they can attend and could jade their overall experience with the franchise.

    Without a doubt, attendance issues will not be a factor post-move. Sellouts will be common, but there will be a different core of fans, and perhaps the warriors could have taken steps (and maybe still can?) to avoid alienation of a loyal fanbase, no matter the effect they will have on their future bottom line.

  • Niners in 2012

    Face it, our owners are a-holes. Lacob and Guber didn’t get rich being nice guys. They aren’t capable of being nice, and they will never be likable.

  • mike

    about the only thing I will miss about the Oakland Arena is in and out burger after the game. I live in the east bay, have been a season ticket holder for 12 years and cannot wait til they play in SF. Riding BART is easy and it gives me another reason to get into SF. let’s face it, you can throw a rock in any direction when you are in the city and hit a very good restaurant. i won’t miss the landmine of potholes on 880, nor the horrible concessions in Oracle. I was a fan as a kid when they were in SF, followed them when they moved to Oakland and will continue when they hit the Pier.

  • Sleepy Freud

    Sleepy you live in Boston right….??Go F yourself. You don’t get it..
    only 5 people like you on gsom. Ever think how many jobs will be lost? Oh right.. You live in Boston now. Sorry excuse for a warrior fan.

  • Matt

    I grew up a Warriors fan and still am but now live in Seattle. As a boy, my father drove us from Pacifica to games until BART was put in. The move across the Bay is nothing. I now have to leave the state to see the NBA in person. I understand the East Bay angst but I agree the how could have been better, Nate Thurmond is still my favorite basketball player of all-time. Ownership should have recognized him at the outset. Be thankful the ownership was not the petulant Howard Schultz who with the help of David Stern killed the NBA in Seattle.

  • Boo lacob

    Cant wait til lacob gets booed in sf.

  • Beil

    Does it matter where they play. They’ll always be losers. And how awkward will it be when they’ll still be in Oakland for 5 more years. 5 years is still a long time. Wouldn’t it be funny if they can’t get an arena built (a definite possibliity) and have no choice but to stay.

  • Boo lacob

    I believe you meant ’til draft day.
    As long as we’re picking nits: “till” and “until” are both preferable to “’til.”

    There will be no extra point!

    Don’t worry Marcus… Sleepy second comment from top is only liked by 5 people on gsom.

  • Scotty

    “Of course. It’s an emotional, heart-rending experience to have your favorite team bounce. Just ask Seattle natives like Jamal Crawford who are still smarting about their Sonics’ discontinuance”

    If I’m a Sonic fan I’m pretty annoyed that you would even begin to compare this move with that one.

  • Simon

    “They can build wherever they want. It’s a right for which they’ve paid.”

    Wrong. They are the owners of a franchise. Their power and control over the team is limited because the Warriors are also part of the NBA. Lacob and Guber can’t decide to move them to Prague. They can’t decide to have their players wear dresses instead of jerseys. They can’t decide to go out of business.

    While moving to San Francisco is something they can decide to do—the league sees it as a smart, fair, reasonable move—it is not true that Lacob and Guber paid for the right to do—or even build—”wherever they want.”

  • Steve

    Nate Thurmond was interviewed by 95.7FM The Game after the waterfront ceremonies. Marcus, I have to say he really sounds like one disrespected dude. LOL

    http://957thegame.com/episode_download.php?contentType=36&contentId=5857782

  • nacho

    Not really sure how the owners are supposed to “show compassion” to the oak fans, when they dont understand them. The best they can do is call them the greatest fans in the world. What else could they say that wouldn’t seem disingenuous?

    Get the arena in the SF, start winning games and ATTRACT free agents! That blueprint sounds good to me. I dont think any major FAs want to grind it out in the OAK.

  • Pingback: Joe Lacob sold San Francisco wrong | Golden State Warriors Blog And Forum | Warriorsworld.net

  • DW

    I can’t front Marcus, this may have been your best written column. Good Job!

  • mook

    Marcus great job with this article. To steve who claims to have lived in the east bay you must live in the trivalley because any true eastbay resident knows why this is an issue. The east bay is a blue collar fan base thus the comment of “the bus driver with his two kids” we are loyal and we love are teams. We are a passionate fan base who goes to games because we are fans not because its the “it” thing to do. We go winning or losing we support our team. Most fanbases would of crumbled away with as few winning seasons as the warriors have had. San francisco is viewed as a white collar fan base. San francisco looks down on oakland as being lower classed oakland looks at san francisco as being snobbish with there wine and chesse. It may all be the bay area but it is 2 different demographics

  • Tony Hicks

    Great stuff Marcus. You laid it out well; yet some of these commenters still don’t get it. Who cares if YOU don’t understand how some fans feel rejected, or that you say their feelings are irrelevant (that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard said about sports fans, considering fandom is ALL about feelings for a team, not logic). The point is that people feel jilted and it wasn’t done with the proper amount of respect for Oakland and the fans that supported this team as it lost year after year. I feel jilted and I’ve always lived east of the Caldecott, so I can only imagine how it feels for Oakland residents/fans. Ultimately, it comes down to money, which is ownership’s right. A new arena in SF will be exciting. But the way Oakland was left in the dust will make the experience bittersweet.

  • Yoda

    Granted, Lacob et al. are tone deaf and have been from the start. For the most part they should shut up and find a professional spokesperson to deal with the public. OTOH, maybe this is Lacob’s way of getting his jab in after being booed in Oakland. But a few points need to be made.

    First, it’s Oakland that has screwed up with respect to its sports teams by failing to put together a vision of a sports complex that would be somewhere other than out by the airport in a wasteland devoid of any amenities. Some real vision 15 years ago would have prevented this.

    Second, don’t act like the fans all come from Oakland. They don’t. Most don’t. There are probably more East Bay fans coming from the other side of the hills, or down south, than from the city of Oakland. For most of the fan base it’s a matter of taking a different train to get to the game, or driving over a bridge. Or not having to drive over a bridge anymore. There are a lot of fans for whom the new location will be far more convenient. And guess what – there will be places to eat and drink and everything! Again, something Oakland never figured out.

    Third, that Seattle comparison was horrible. That team went across the country. This one is moving eight miles or something like that. Please.

    Fourth, you talk about hijacking. Did Oakland hijack the team from SF?

    In the end, all you’re talking about is some kind of civic pride based around a freaking basketball team, not a diss of the fans. The fans who can afford it will still go, just like it was only the fans who could afford it who kept going after Cohan’s renovation kicked out tons of long-time season ticket holders who didn’t have the bucks to pay the new prices after having to pay for a season in San Jose.

    The only people I feel bad for in this are the folks who had jobs at the Oracle or because the team was there. Everyone else will be fine.

  • dailey19

    The Lacob/Guber team will be in for a major surprise when they face years of no-shows + the vociferous 50% East Bay season ticket holders.
    Lacob/Guber/Lee are ruthless !

  • Kev

    I know there might be jobs lost but I think for those people whom worked there before get first crack at the jobs like what the 49ers are doing right now. It’s a new stadium.

  • FANTOM

    Thank yhou so much for this article, which captures it well.I will forward to the Warriors staff who asked me if I was excited about the move.

  • Mhyhe

    Ever since the Dodgers left Brooklyn and the Giants left NYC, it has been clear that It is all about the owners, their egos and their money.

    Smart owners try to make it about the fans (altho it never is) and we are happy to go along with this.

    But when the worst franchise in the league sucker punches the fans and city that supported it, booing of the ownership will be the least of the repercussions.

    In their greed to build an arena before they build a good team, they are making a critical assumption – that the fans will still come if the team is in SF.

    I don’t think so. The prices will go up, travel patterns will be different, and with loyalty broken fans will take the time reassess the relationship. There will be a lot of empty seats in that new arena.

  • Chris

    Well said Marcus, even if I don’t necessarily agree. The thought that Oakland has lost something that belonged to the entire Bay Area anyways is pretty ludicrous. The soul of the Warriors fan base was not born in Oakland. Most of the 75% of fans who attend games make the journey to Oakland begrudgingly. I have lived on the Peninsula my entire life, and have the same dedication towards the Warriors as anyone who’s sat through year after year of failure. The iron will of the Warriors fan base was forged by enduring losses together, fans from every corner of the Bay.

    I think in your post, you touched upon the real issue when you said: “This city is hypersensitive about being deemed inferior, especially to San Francisco . . .”

    Oakland has an inferiority complex, plain and simple. A city that thrives between the lines is searching for acceptance from a world that lives in the open. The thing is that Oaklanders have not only accepted the notion that they’re deemed inferior, but they revel in it. It’s like a battle cry to rally around, or something to hang your hat on at the end of the day. The City of Oakland and it’s people have done nothing to dispel the outside world’s perception of their city, and if anything have tried to live up to it. Corrupt politics, seedy criminal elements, dilapidated areas of redevelopment? All major cities have those problems, even the “shining jewel” across the Bay. But at the end of the day, those cities have qualities that balance out the bad, that do inspire hope. Public works, festivals, events, architecture, parks, you name it. Oakland may have similar qualities, but the rest of us will never know.

    More specifically to the point, look at the sports scene. All teams go through ups and downs. The sports landscape has changed, but Oakland hasn’t changed with it. Like it or not (I’d say not) sports is as much about money as it is about winning. Whether it be bureaucracy, bad ownership, politics, or all of the above, Oakland never got it done for their teams. They’ve been stuck at the Colisseum complex while the rest of the sporting world has moved on. The fan attendance to Oakland based teams has dwindled down to almost nothing. When a team as pivotal to the history of the NFL as the Raiders are can’t draw enough to show a game on TV, or a team with a championship tradition like the A’s draws less than 2000 to the yard, that’s on Oakland, and no one else. The reason the Warriors thrive and continually sell out? it’s not the fan base in Oakland, who have quite adamantly spoken with their wallets that it’s not worth filling the joint, but the collective fan base of the entire Bay Area that fills the Oracle.

    In the end, I don’t feel badly for Oakland’s loss, because simply put the Warriors were never theirs to lose. The move to SF and everything that comes with it represents a good thing for the Warriors franchise. A fan base that as remained loyal through extremely down times will finally be put on a stage for all the world to see. And the only people who have a problem with it? The one’s who want to be looked over, who want to be the underdog, who don’t want to jump in the spotlight, and who thrive on the being deemed inferior . . . the citizens of Oakland.

  • ArmChair GM

    I wanna address the erroneous statement that I have seen time and time again from San Franciscans claiming that the Warriors are coming “HOME” to San Francisco. As if Oakland was not a REAL HOME to the Warriors for 41 years!

    First of all, in case you just crawled out from under a rock, you should realize that the true HOME of the Warriors is Philadelphia! They were formed there, and stayed there for 16 years.

    They moved to San Francisco in 1962 and were based there for a measly little 9 years until 1971. However, even during that brief 9 year span as the SF warriors do your research, they played SEVERAL games in Oakland!

    From 1971 to 2017(at least) The Warriors will have been hosted and supported to the tune of constant sellout crowds and at least $100,000,000 by the city of Oakland to make the Warriors feel comfortable. The teams ONLY Championship was won when the team was hosted by Oakland!

    So you do the simple math…

    -Philadelphia 16 years

    -San Francisco Barely 9 years

    -Oakland 41 years and counting along with unparalleled fan support and over 100 million by the city of Oakland.

    Now you tell me….Who really has been the real HOME to the Warriors over their complete history?

    San Francisco ain’t no REAL HOME to the Warriors. They want the glory but they haven’t even come close to putting in the work or quality time!

    GTFOH with that SF is the home of the Warriors crap!

  • http://ihatemydvr.blogspot.com/ Bigmouth

    Wow… you nailed it. Very, very well said.

  • Fire Bob Fitzgerald

    This article is pure unadulterated hogwash and – as I’ve commented before – MT has no objectivity in regard to this situation and frankly is compromising his position as a reporter that a sports fan can trust. His bias in favor of Oakland is palpable.

    There was nothing the Warriors could have done differently that would have mollified East Bay fans who are now going to have cross the Bay Bridge (just as San Francisco based fans have done for decades) to cheer for the Warriors.

    MT do all bus drivers live in Oakland or just bus drivers who are Warriors fans? Why must bus drivers and their ilk who live in the West Bay have to be condemned to a life of crossing the Bay Bridge to an arena marooned in a sea of concrete in order to see the Warriors in person? And this says nothing of the poor bus driver living in San Jose who cheers for the Warriors, has kids, and wants to take them to see the Warriors too just like his Oakland based brethren.

    To compare the Warriors move of less than 20 miles to the Supersonics’ “move” (assassination is more apt) is simply laughable.

    Asserting that the Warriors were wrong to claim they were looking at all of their options when – according to MT – they weren’t shows that MT is better off as a sportswriter since he obviously has no idea how businesses must run especially when they are dealing with situations that cannot move forward absent dealing with local governments.

    As someone who has lived in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose (but still doesn’t have any soul like people in Oklahoma City and who doesn’t cheer as loud either according to MT) and who has commuted to see the Warriors from all of these cities (up to and including season tickets for multiple years when I lived in San Jose and had to fight my way up 880 at rush hour to see the Warriors) your take on this situation MT is offensive.

    Your wife is correct: sometimes it is how you say it that matters. And, in this instance, your rampant sentimentality and romantic glorification of the Oakland based middle class fan means you are slamming all of the rest of the fans (this is called a negative pregnant).

  • Mano de Nada

    “And seeing the vision for the arena, perched on waterfront with a backdrop that would make Ansel Adams switch to color, even Oaklanders understand the move.”

    Errr Ansel Adams would puke at what has been done to the city and the bay, and he would not endorse a billionaires play thing no matter how well PhotoShopped a presentation. Mr Adams simply had much more to his game than all that. Just stating facts…

  • Todd

    I used to live in the Bay Area until economics forced me away and have been a W’s fan for over 30 years. I agree that different PR could have been used to break the news but ultimately business is business and the Bay Area still has a team. They didn’t move to Seattle or Vancouver or any number of other cities that desperately want a team, be happy that you can still see your team. Not to mention, on the other hand, with the known support of Oakland as a commodity, several NBA regions support two teams, who is to say that Sacramento, New Orleans, Toronto or any other struggling franchise doesn’t move to Oakland and have a rivalry like the Lakers/Clippers, Mavericks/Spurs, Heat/Magic.