Draymond Green sprayed champagne, Steve Kerr sarcastically took sole credit for the team’s success and the Warriors proved to be as loose at their World Championship rally as they were for most of their historic season.
After bringing the title to Oakland for the first time in 40 years on Tuesday night, the Golden State Warriors staged a jovial celebration Friday.
As the players came together at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention center overlooking glistening Lake Merritt on a beautiful afternoon, the Dubs finally gave the city of Oakland a team to be proud of.
During the speeches, the players joked and giggled as they sat next to one another. Harrison Barnes talked about what it meant to win with this group:
“Teammates change, teams change, injuries happen. But to win with these guys, there’s nothing more special.”
Special is the perfect way to describe this Warriors team that barreled through the grueling Western Conference playoffs and then over the world’s best player, to bring home the gleaming trophy that league MVP Stephen Curry carried throughout the parade.
Photos by Brian Churchwell/SFBay
The outrageousness of Draymond Green’s speech is what Warrior fans will remember from Friday’s rally. The only Warrior dressed in black opened by popping a bottle of champagne, albeit a smaller version than he uncorked after Game 6, then ditched the podium and strutted across the stage with mic in hand.
A wide-smiling Green turned his attention to his rookie head coach:
“My rook has five championships prior to this one.”
Green grabbed the reluctant Kerr out of his chair and pulled him to the front of the stage, his muscular arm wrapped around his coach’s skinny physique. Draymond joked:
“This my guy. From the start of training camp he hated me, that’s no lie. He probably still hates me, that’s no lie. But we gonna keep winning these championships and that’s no lie.”
Kerr swiped the mic:
“Hey you know how they start playing music at the Oscars when it starts to go on a little longer and security comes and grabs the guy? That may happen here in a few minutes.”
Kerr started the fun with a sarcastic speech in which he took responsibility for every strength the players and team already had upon his arrival:
“I took a look at the roster and I thought man I’ve got a big job on my hands. Not much talent, very little shooting, the defense was suspect, more than anything just shaky character. I mean look at these guys.”
Barnes, nicknamed “The Senator” by longtime Warriors color commentator Jim Barnett, followed with a measured and articulate speech. Bogut couldn’t help but mess with him when it was his turn:
“I don’t know how much I can improve upon Harrison Barnes, cause that was like a school project his speech.”
The genuine words from the team’s MVPs will be remembered too. Especially that of Curry, who like Klay Thompson spent his early seasons living in a nearby highrise on Lake Merritt. Back then he said he could walk around town without being noticed, now he’s the most recognizable sports figure in the Bay Area.
The 27-year-old MVP sees this as just the beginning:
“The cool thing about this is we’re gonna suit up in about three months and try to do it again.”
Finals MVP Andre Iguodala told the fans they were the reason he’s a Warrior to begin with:
“Honestly it was three years ago playing in a playoff series I was with the Denver Nuggets. Being in this environment, seeing how you all cheer for your team, that’s really what brought me here. I appreciate all y’all. We did it.”
Friday was also a day when things came full circle for two members of the front office. Owner Joe Lacob was furiously booed by a sold-out Oracle Arena in 2012 after trading away fan favorite Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut.
After years of disappointment due in large part to the inept ownership of Chris Cohan, the Warrior fans didn’t care about the big picture that evening, and didn’t yet trust Lacob. On Friday there were no boos to be heard. Lacob remained good humored:
“I’ve been booed by 20,000 people and cheered by 1 million people all in a span of three years.”
General manager Bob Myers will go down as the architect of one of the most complete teams in NBA history, and pulled a salary cap maneuver two off-seasons ago that landed Iguodala, the most important player in this year’s finals.
Myers was going to Warrior games long before he was involved in the organization, and brought a ticket stub that his mom saved from 1982. The loudest the crowd got was when Myers assured Warrior fans that the team will be resigning Green this offseason.
While Green may not have the numbers of a max-contract player, Myers realizes his importance to the team, and his role within this specific group. He complements his teammates’ skills, as does every member of the 2014-2015 Warriors.
They are good at sharing credit, and because of that, they will share this moment for the rest of their lives.