100 Things Warriors Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

100 Things Warriors Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

by Danny Leroux

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Overview

100 Things Warriors Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Danny Leroux

Most Golden State Warriors fans have attended a game at Oracle Arena, marveled at Stephen Curry's effortless shots, and remember where they were when the team won the 2015 NBA championship. But only real fans watched all 73 wins in the 2015-16 season, know where the Warriors played when they first moved to California, or can name whom the Warriors swept in the 1975 Finals. 100 Things Warriors Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is the ultimate resource guide for true fans of Warriors basketball. Whether you're a die-hard fan from the Run TMC days or a new supporter of Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant, this book contains everything Warriors fans should know, see, and do in their lifetime.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629374796
Publisher: Triumph Books
Publication date: 11/01/2017
Series: 100 Things...Fans Should Know Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 785,040
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Danny Leroux has covered the Warriors for RealGM since 2009 and hosts the "Locked on Warriors" and "RealGM Radio" podcasts. He also writes about the Warriors for The Athletic and is the NBA salary cap expert for The Sporting News. He has has a law degree from UC Hastings and a BA in Economics and Political Science from UCLA. This is his first book. Bob Myers is the general manager and president of basketball operations of the Golden State Warriors and a two-time NBA Executive of the Year.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry became a game breaker, lightning rod, and singular figure all before his 30th birthday.

Curry's defining characteristic on the court is his ability to shoot off the dribble and pull up effectively from places that were previously inconceivable. The NBA's present and past are full of talented catch-and-shoot marksmen but Curry breaks defenses because his shot requires substantially more planning, talent, and execution to slow down, much less stop.

It took nine seasons for the first NBA player to make 100 three-pointers in a season and another seven years plus moving the three-point line in for anyone to crack 200. Stephen Curry ousted Ray Allen's record of 269 in his fourth season and has already broken his own record two more times in four seasons, only falling short of Allen's 269 in 2013–14.

However, Curry's status as the best shooter of all time only tells part of the story. Over the years, he has combined the ability to draw immense amounts of defensive attention and much improved passing to orchestrate some of the most effective offenses in league history. While Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and more recently Kevin Durant have integral parts to play, Curry is the focal point and mandatory centerpiece of the system.

His other defining characteristic is also the reason fans all over the league come when doors open for Warriors games: his preparation. While spectators ooh and ahh at dribbling exhibitions and shots from the center court logo or Oracle tunnel, those demonstrations come on top of a foundation built through immense amounts of time and remarkable diligence. In the off-season, Curry challenges himself through complicated drills like one where people stand on the edge of his vision holding numbers and he has to dribble while responding to lights and reading the numbers or another where he dribbles a basketball in one hand and throws around a tennis ball in the other while wearing vision-limiting goggles.

While many focus on Curry's unusual stature and build for a superstar, his uncommon path to this point may be even more remarkable. After all, the giants of league history, like Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and LeBron James, were all undeniable combinations of physical ability and prodigious talent, while Curry faced doubters and skeptics even while building an impressive résumé.

It is somewhat rare for the child of an NBA player to fly under the radar but being Dell Curry's son did not compel any NCAA powerhouses to offer a scholarship. Leading college basketball in scoring as a junior the year after propelling Davidson College to the Elite Eight in the 2008 NCAA Tournament also did not inspire any NBA general manager to select him with a top-five pick.

Even then, after impressing early in his time on the Warriors and finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting, Curry ended up sitting behind Acie Law IV in coach Keith Smart's rotation during his sophomore campaign, often in fourth quarters. The next season, Curry only appeared in 26 games as the team shut him down in March after numerous ankle and foot issues and that fall he agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract extension, a lower salary than his performance and potential justified, due to those persistent health concerns.

All of the doubt that could have defined Curry's basketball life ended up being the prologue for a story even his most optimistic supporters did not see coming.

Golden State began the 2012–13 season with Curry as the centerpiece of their offense after trading Monta Ellis during the prior season. Curry responded with his best performance as a pro to that point, as his 22.9 points and 6.9 assists per game helped drive the Warriors to their first playoff appearance since the We Believe team six years before. On top of that, Curry only missed four games, assuaging the injury concerns that dogged his early career and contributed to his less-lucrative extension the prior November.

He built on that success with another strong campaign in 2013–14, increasing his scoring to 24 points per game and assists to 8.5 per game, both new career highs. Again, he missed only four games as the Warriors improved to 51–31, their first season with 50 or more wins in 20 years. While Golden State fell to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs that season, Curry battled established star Chris Paul for all seven games, including 33 points and nine assists in their 126–121 Game 7 loss. His improvement and the hard-fought series set the table for a truly remarkable stretch.

While the 2014–15 season started with considerable turnover due to the firing of Mark Jackson and hiring of Steve Kerr, Curry quickly turned the focus his direction with the best season of his career to that point. Despite playing four fewer minutes per game, he averaged 23.8 points, 7.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and two steals per game as the Warriors jumped from the 12th best offense all the way to second, and Curry's emergence played a major part in that meteoric rise.

While increasing his role in the offense under the new coaching staff and system, Curry also improved his efficiency as a shooter while reducing his turnovers. That transformation turned him from a captivating novelty to genuine force and the league's best offensive player. While Coach Jackson protected Curry on defense by frequently giving his fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson the more challenging assignment, Kerr entrusted Curry with added responsibilities on that end. Curry responded with a solid performance that was more than enough, considering Golden State's other talent on that end, and they finished the season with the league's best defense.

After beating fellow 2009 draftee James Harden for his first Most Valuable Player Award, Curry averaged 28.3 points per game in the playoffs, including 25 or more points in the clinching game of every round on the Warriors' way to their first championship in 40 years. While Andre Iguodala won Finals MVP due to his defense on LeBron James, Curry's 37 points and four assists in Game 5 helped give the Warriors the 3–2 series lead they never relinquished.

Winning the league MVP and championship in the same season made Curry a household name. With an elevated platform and expectations, the sports world eagerly anticipated Curry's encore. He responded with one of the best offensive seasons in NBA history by leading the league in scoring, annihilating his own record for most made three-pointers in a season and powering the Warriors to a remarkable 73–9 regular season record that bested the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls' all-time mark. Yet again, Curry managed to accomplish the extraordinary double of increasing his role in the Warriors offense (which led the league) while also improving his efficiency, which pushed him toward the best seasons by Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan. His outrageous regular season received appropriate acclaim when Curry became the first unanimous MVP in league history.

The sky-high expectations and a potential coronation for the league's newest dynasty came to a halt when Curry slipped on a wet spot in Game 4 of the Warriors' first-round series against Houston. A sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee forced him to miss the closeout game against the Rockets and the first three games against the Trail Blazers. While he had a few truly electrifying moments in the playoffs, including an NBA-record 17 overtime points in his first game back, Curry did not have the possession-by-possession impact of his prior two seasons and the Warriors ended up falling to the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

After a history-making regular season that ended in injury and disappointment, Curry cultivated a new kind of interest in his follow-up. That fascination only grew when 2013–14 MVP Kevin Durant decided to join the Warriors, making them the first set of Most Valuable Players to be teammates while still in their twenties. With those massive expectations, Curry ended up closer to his 2013–14 and 2014–15 campaigns with 25.3 points and 6.6 assists per game as the team finished with the league's best record despite Durant missing 19 games with his own MCL sprain. The disappointment of 2016 put extra pressure on Curry to deliver in the playoffs. He became the key stabilizing force, averaging 28.1 points and 6.7 assists while shooting 42 percent from three as the Warriors dominated their opponents, finishing with a 16–1 record. Echoing the 2015 playoff run, Curry scored 30 or more points in every closeout game, including 34 in the title-clincher at Oracle.

After the parade, Curry had the chance to be an unrestricted free agent for the first time but chose to return to the Warriors on the league's very first Designated Veteran contract: a five-year, $201 million agreement that was the largest in NBA history. At just 29 years old, he should be able to expand his already massive imprint on the franchise for years to come.

CHAPTER 2

Rick Barry

Perhaps the best encapsulation of Rick Barry came from his first NBA coach, Alex Hannum, in a piece he wrote for Sports Illustrated in 1969:

"Of all the rookies I ever saw break in, Rick Barry was the most special. It was something to remember, that first day as a Warrior, when he scrimmaged against Tom Meschery, whom we called 'the Mad Manchurian.' After a while they were just going one-on-one, at and over each other and ignoring everyone else. I was refereeing and I let a Barry basket go on a dubious play, but then I whistled a charging foul on Meschery when he came through Barry like the Normandy invasion. Meschery went into a rage. It was so bad I had to rearrange things so they were no longer guarding each other. But as soon as Tom got the ball again, Barry left his new man, picked Meschery up, and stole the ball as he blocked the shot. Meschery was so enraged I had to call off the whole practice.

"Half an hour later, calmed down and getting dressed, Tom couldn't contain his enthusiasm. 'Hey, Alex,' he said, 'that Barry's going to be a great one.'"

Along with his signature underhanded free throw form, Barry's incredible talent, intensity, and divisive personality became trademarks of a truly remarkable career. Teammate Clifford Ray said it well when he told Sports Illustrated, "Rick may not be the kind of guy to say please, but he's in it to win."

Barry grew up in Roselle Park, New Jersey, before starring at the University of Miami, where he averaged more than 30 points per game each of his final two seasons and led the NCAA in scoring as a first team All-American as a senior.

The Warriors had the first two non-territorial picks in the 1965 Draft and took Barry second. The team had traded Wilt Chamberlain to Philadelphia in the middle of the prior season, though they still had star-caliber players in Guy Rodgers and Nate Thurmond. Barry fit in right away, leading the Warriors in scoring with 25.7 points per game while also making both the All-Star team and first team All-NBA as San Francisco improved from 17–63 to 35–45. After a historic rookie season, Barry upped the ante by leading the league in scoring at 35.6 points per game and finishing fifth in MVP voting behind Chamberlain, Thurmond, Bill Russell, and Oscar Robertson. That season, the Warriors won 44 games and the Western Division, then made the NBA Finals after defeating both the Lakers and Hawks. Chamberlain's 76ers won the series 4–2, but Barry averaged 40.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in a losing effort, proving his mettle on the largest stage. Shortly after his 23rd birthday, Barry was a star and key contributor on a contending team. Future Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham called Barry "by far the toughest forward in the NBA to guard because he is in constant movement."

That optimism changed quickly as Barry's disappointment over his second year salary (just a $10,000 raise in base pay from his rookie year despite his success) created a fissure at exactly the wrong time for the Warriors. The newly formed American Basketball Association was going to have a team in Oakland and owner Pat Boone offered him an intriguing contract to play for the Oakland Oaks that included an ownership stake and the opportunity to play for his father-in-law and University of Miami head coach Bruce Hale.

Barry accepted but Mieuli sued with the argument that it violated the terms of his contract. The court forced Barry to sit out for one year, which he partially spent broadcasting Oaks games, but he did play for them in 1968–69 for former coach Alex Hannum because Hale left while Barry sat out. He was sharp after the layoff, averaging 34 points per game before tearing ligaments in his knee which eventually forced him to sit out the rest of the year as his teammates won the 1969 ABA championship. Even though they went 60–18 and won the league title, the Oaks only drew 2,800 fans per game and Boone sold the team to Earl Foreman, who moved the team to Washington, D.C., where they became the Washington Capitols.

Barry's ABA gamble had not paid off but his ordeal was not over. Frustrated with the move, he told the Los Angeles Times, "If I wanted to go to Washington, I'd run for president" and tried to re-join the Warriors but lost in court again, forcing him to fulfill his contract. A disappointed Barry still averaged 27.7 points per game but missed 30 games due to another knee injury. After that season, the team announced they were moving again, this time to Virginia, and their star told sportswriters, "I don't want my son coming home saying 'Howdy, y'all'" before forcing a trade to the New York Nets.

Even with all the change, Barry still produced and helped the Nets reach the 1972 ABA Finals after scoring 27 points on the road against his former team in Game 7. One month after the Nets lost to the Pacers in the ABA Finals, the U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction that Barry would have to re-join the Warriors after his contract with the Nets ended, which he did four months later.

Barry was a meaningfully different player after five years away from the Warriors. While still a gifted scorer, knee injuries had sapped some of the athleticism that earned him the "Miami Greyhound" nickname from Warriors broadcaster Bill King. In its place, Barry became more of a distributor and eventually the forerunner to the "point forward," though the term did not exist yet. Astonishingly, he led Golden State in scoring and assists for five straight seasons after his return.

The highlight of Barry's second stint with the Warriors came in 1974–75, when the team retooled and he reached 30 points per game for the first time since his final season in New York, finishing fourth in MVP voting. Barry again led the team in points and assists as they won the Pacific Division with a 48–34 record. After defeating the Sonics in six games, Golden State had to face a formidable Chicago Bulls team that had beaten them three times in the regular season. Facing a must-win Game 6 in Chicago, Barry scored 36 points in a huge comeback victory before a team effort carried them to the 1975 NBA Finals, eight years after the team lost to Chamberlain's 76ers in Barry's second season.

Despite being massive underdogs to the Washington Bullets, Golden State won Game 1 before having to play two games in the Cow Palace, their home arena in the 1967 Finals. Barry loved the shooter-friendly dead rims he called "sewer pipes" there and scored 36 and 38 points in two Warriors wins as they took a commanding 3–0 series lead. Two nights later, Barry and the Warriors had their first NBA championship and completed the biggest upset in league history and the star earned Finals MVP honors after averaging 29.5 points per game in the sweep.

While Barry and the Warriors never reached those heights again despite coming brutally close the next year, he stayed a central figure on the team for another three seasons before signing with the Houston Rockets in 1978. The presence of other scorers moved Barry into an even more pronounced "point forward" role. Assistant Del Harris described it by saying, "He would sort it out. He would make the plays. He was really the first guy to be utilized in that role very heavily. But there was no name attached to it." That fairly describes his later years in Oakland as well. After two seasons in Houston, Barry retired shortly after his 36 birthday.

Despite spending five years of his prime outside the organization, Barry is the second-leading scorer in Warriors history (No. 1 since the move to California), fourth in assists, and seventh in rebounds. The Warriors retired his No. 24 jersey on March 18, 1988, and he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "100 Things Warriors Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Danny Leroux.
Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Bob Myers ix

1 Stephen Curry 1

2 Rick Barry 6

3 2015 Championship 10

4 1975 Championship 14

5 2017 Championship 21

6 Al Attles 26

7 Chris Mullin 29

8 Don Nelson 34

9 Nate Thurmond 40

10 Run TMC 43

11 We Believe 48

12 Experience Roaracle 53

13 The Making of a Monolith 55

14 The 1975-76 Season 61

15 73-9 64

16 The 2016 Playoffs 66

17 Draymond Green 69

18 Klay Thompson 74

19 Bad Trades 77

28 Tim Hardaway 81

21 Franklin Mieuli 84

22 Wilt Chamberlain 86

23 Tom Meschery 92

24 Draft Busts 94

25 Unanimous 101

26 Nellie Ball 103

27 The Cocktail Napkin 108

28 Chris Cohan 109

29 Latrell Sprewell 112

30 Phil Smith 117

31 Move to Oakland 119

32 Joe Lacob 122

33 Jeff Mullins 126

34 Bad Signings 128

35 The City Uniforms 131

36 Jim FitzgeraLd 133

37 Purvis Short 135

38 The 2012 Draft 137

39 Andre Iguodala 141

40 Jason Richardson 144

41 Favorite Underdog 148

42 Steve Kerr 150

43 StephVP 155

44 Baron Davis 159

45 Mitch Richmond 164

41 Wilt's 100 167

47 Old-School Gear 170

48 "Sleepy Floyd Is Superman!" 172

49 Jamaal Wilkes 174

50 The 1966-67 Season 177

51 Number One Picks 179

52 1993-94 Season 183

53 The Choke 186

54 Bill King 188

55 Klay's 37 190

56 The 1964 NBA Finals 193

57 Local Warriors 196

58 Becoming the Golden State Warriors 200

59 Guy Rodgers 202

60 Mullin vs. Rowell 203

61 The $450 Million Bid 207

62 Joe Barry Carroll 210

63 Bob Myers 213

64 Chris Webber 218

65 Ellis for Bogut 222

66 Mark Jackson 225

67 David Lee 230

68 Baron on Kirilenko 233

69 Monta's Moped 235

70 The Gilbert Arenas Provision 238

71 Splash Brothers 241

72 Bernard King 244

73 Jamison's 51s 248

74 Strength in Numbers 251

75 Jim Barnett 256

76 Alex Hannum 257

77 Cliris Mullin's Jersey Retirement Ceremony 260

78 The Defenders 262

79 The Philadelphia Warriors 265

80 Attend Lakers at Warriors 267

81 Šarunas Marciuiionis 268

82 Kevin Durant 270

83 2012-13 Season 274

84 Get Championship Gear 276

85 Chris Muliin the GM 278

86 The San Jose Warriors 282

87 Coaching Carousel 284

88 Adios, Nellie II 287

89 Shootout in Denver 290

90 Larry Smith 292

91 Chase Center 294

92 Kezar Pavilion 297

93 Robert Parish 298

94 World B. Free 300

95 Fight with Blazers 303

96 162-99 305

97 Attend Warriors at Kings 306

98 Manure Bol 308

99 17-65 310

100 Thunder 313

Acknowledgments 315

Sources 319

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