By some estimates, more than 1.5 million fans lined the streets of Downtown Oakland Thursday morning, and it was a time for jubilation.
For the second time in three years, the Bay Area was able to celebrate a champion, this time the 2017 NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
Fire trucks were lit up, horses were dressed in Warriors gear, and Oakland buses were draped in blue and gold as a parade took to the streets over a two-mile route that landed at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center for a rally to cap the day.
Warriors fan Bobby Edrosa from Walnut Creek told SFBay:
“I’ve been out here since 5 a.m. It’s been an amazing atmosphere.”
Fans like Edrosa were encouraged to come and set up early due to the massive turnout expected to rival the 2015 championship parade.
With front row spots long gone, some fans found their vantage points atop city bus stops.
Ten-year veteran of the Oakland Police Department Officer Lorda said that there was nothing to do to dissuade the fan’s innovative choice of seats:
“There are so many bus stops, we can’t do much about it.”
But even with the high volume, crowded conditions did not deter fans, as the streets were jam-packed several hours before festivities began.
Even Lorda said that he was looking forward to the day’s events long before Thursday rolled around:
“Not a lot of cops were looking forward to this, but if it turns out anything like two years ago, it should be a good time.”
Among all 15 players on the roster, notable figured in the parade included legendary head coach of the 1974-75 championship Warriors, Al Attles, and famous granny-style Warriors free throw shooter Rick Barry.
Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf and the mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, also made appearances throughout the route.
As the parade winded down, fans dispersed toward the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center to listen to speeches from key members of the team, coaches and ownership.
But the sights and sounds of yet another championship celebration will not soon fade.
Lifelong Warriors fan Sharon Amick, of Manteca, said:
“It was my first year and it’s something that I’ll never forget in my lifetime.”
Considering the dominance of this season’s Warriors team and the youth of many of their star players, Amick said she expected the celebration and championship parades to continue for the next several years:
“Im sure we’ll be here again next year.”
Judging by the turnout and enthusiasm, the Dubs will have no trouble getting the celebration to match the expectations, if they come true.