Dear Warriors Fan,
First, let me congratulate you. Your team is spectacular. No matter how much I'd love to indulge the fiction that last year's championship was anything less than historically extraordinary, my better basketball senses forbid it.
It would have been fun to play you in the Western Conference Finals, especially with a healthy Chris Paul. As you can tell from last night, he's pretty fucking good at basketball. You'll never get me to say we would have lost that series. But that does nothing to detract from the brilliance of your championship team.
Your 2015-2016 squad looks even more terrifying. They are better than my team. At the risk of sharing the same opinion as Chris Broussard, the media hyperventilating over the '96 Bulls or '86 Celtics or '72 Lakers actually feels fair this time around. In the deepest, darkest parts of my fandom, I'll even admit that there's a portion of me that actually enjoys watching the Warriors...when Draymond is off the floor, obviously. It must be fun to witness that on a nightly basis...or at least watch those Vines that get shared at work the next day.
Hell, most of Clipper Nation knew your team was terrifying as early as three seasons ago, before all of this "luck" nonsense started brewing. But that's back when Mark Jackson ran the fourth quarter offense through Jarrett Jack. Who you guys should totally bring back, by the way. Him AND Jordan Crawford. And why don't you guys post up Klay anymore on undersized guards for five minute stretches? Luke still has a lot to learn...
The only real "luck" your team has enjoyed, beyond the obligatory good run of health from which the vast majority of championship teams have benefited, is that Zach Lowe put up a completely innocuous quote in full context that NBA twitter turned into needless motivational fodder for you. So in that sense, you have been somewhat lucky. But even you can admit past championship runs have felt less blessed at times....
Actually, let me clarify. Your franchise has been INCREDIBLY lucky, but not in the dumb ways broached by Skip Bayless during contrived First Take segments. You got lucky that Steph's ankles looked like they couldn't support a Pez dispenser early in his career. That allowed you to sign him for less than what you're paying Klay and Draymond and Andre Iguodala. At one point Bazemore was raking more in with his tip jar.
Our promising point guard of yesteryear also had debilitating injuries early in his career. But things worked out differently for Shaun than they did for Steph (Steph was by far the better player, too).
Ahhh, Shaun in a Clippers uniform. Man, that brings me back to the 2000's. Do you remember those years, Warriors fan? Livingston and Corey and Elton for me. Biedrins and Monta and Troy Muprhy for you. (You don't remember Troy? Sorry. Troy was David Lee before David Lee.)
We were not so different back then, you and I. We were both tortured fans starved of front office competency, desperately clinging to memories of our one fantastical playoff run. Years of spinning our wheels with disastrous drafts and horrific free agent signings. We even shared the same deeply-held resentment towards our entitled step-brothers.
I remember watching Warriors-Clippers games at Staples back then. You would show up pretty regularly, in that Mullen or Hardaway throwback you loved. There were a decent number of other Warriors fans with you, but not anything overwhelming. And perhaps it was imagined on my part, but I always thought there existed a mutual respect between us.
We both knew what it was like to pin your hopes to getting an 8 seed and falling short, year after year after year. We both knew what is was like to have a Dunleavy ruin your life in one way or another. In the mid 2000's high school cafeteria of basketball fandom, we were cool eating at the same table together, away from the bros (Laker fans) and nerds (Spurs fans) and burnouts (Kings fans).
The only time you got upset with us is when we asked you what life was like in San Francisco, and you proudly told us you were from the East Bay, which you said was a much cooler place. (Also that whole Baron Davis thing).
But you've changed, Warriors fan. A lot. And I don't recognize you very much anymore.
Let's start with the obvious. You're much, much, much, much richer than I remember. I know you had some reservations initially about working for Google/Facebook/Uber/(insert monstrous tech firm here)-- that you had some ethical qualms with how they make their money and what they were doing to the culture of the Bay Area. But it looks like that decision has paid off handsomely.
The fact that you buy lots of great seats at Staples for Warriors games, seats countless Clipper fans would kill for, is very impressive. I know many of your friends live in SoCal now. But I was really blown away when you and your coworkers on a whim bought all those seats IN CLEVELAND for the NBA finals. I remember you said lots of your coworkers didn't even really start rooting for the Warriors until last year.
Oakland is changing too. I know some Clipper fans like to give you crap about Oakland's antiquated reputation as Detroit-west, but that doesn't bother you. That was once part of Oakland's charm, in a way.
But we both know that comparison isn't remotely accurate anymore. You're Brooklyn-west, and in a few years, San Francisco-East. Most of the old Warriors fans you used to hang with moved to Vallejo once that Whole Foods moved in and rents started becoming insane. They haven't been to a Warriors game the last two seasons because the tickets are so expensive and keep getting snapped up by city folk. And they're not the only ones. The closest Too Short can get to a "Ref You Suck" chant nowadays is the Coliseum Bart Station.
Still, Oakland is an underdog city. And after decades of struggle the Warriors still have the residue of an underdog team (much like the Clippers do, too). That combination is why the national media and fan bases outside of L.A. don't resent your recent success as much as some other teams'.
But deep down, you know that's about to change. I know you're ambivalent about the move to that gleaning new arena in San Francisco. But I for one can't wait for it. Because while Oakland still has a relateable "us against the world" underdog complex, San Francisco--with its mountains of tech wealth-- decidedly does not. We have Billy, the Lakers have Jack, the Knicks have Spike, and you'll have...
That's not going to play well on the Sunday ABC showcase.
Maybe I'm being naive about this. Maybe you have no problems with the move. Maybe you're looking forward to the new world-class facilities. Maybe your employer said that, along with unlimited beer and free NatureBox, your company is looking into hosting its own NBA events as yet another workday perk for its employees.
Maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe you haven't changed that much. But everytime I hear Staples referred to as Oracle South, or see an Iguodala dancing vine posted for the 700th time this season by someone who doesn't remember Captain Jack, I wonder whether you're just a different person than you used to be.
Anyway, no hard feelings here. People and teams and cities evolve.
Best of luck the rest of the season.
Sorry. Bad choice of words.