Hard to believe I’ve been around the Warriors for more than 25 years now. I purposely don’t say “covered” the Warriors for 25 years because that wouldn’t be technically true. I covered them for 12 or 13 years, then continued to stick around them for the next 10 or so.
I started covering the team the year Chris Webber was traded, and so for the next 10-plus years, it meant I was covering bad teams. The Warriors went 12 straight years without making the playoffs, and I was there for all of them.
To think that I’ve gotten to see a team go from the periphery of the NBA to the centerpiece of the NBA is pretty unreal. After seeing what the Warriors have done for the past decade or so, I would now never trade in those awful years. What a ride: From 17-65 to 73-9.
You can divide this period of time into two parts: Pre-Curry and Post-Curry. Everything started to change in 2009, when the Warriors picked Stephen Curry with the No. 7 pick in that summer’s draft. Nobody knew, of course, how much things were going to change. But it all did when the Warriors took Curry out of Davidson.
The Warriors likely would have never stumbled into Curry if it weren’t for two guys: David Kahn and Jordan Hill. Kahn was the general manager of the Timberwolves at the time, and he had this brilliant idea of selecting two point guards with the Nos. 5 & 6 picks — neither of whom were Curry. Kahn took Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flynn, and there sat Curry for the Warriors.
They already had a smallish guard in their backcourt named Monta Ellis, and there seemed to be a very real scenario that the Warriors might want to “go big.” And there was an intriguing big that was going to be out there: Hill, a power forward from Arizona. But there was no way the Warriors were taking Hill. None.
That decision was made during Hill’s interview with the Warriors.
Just got done watching Hawks-Bucks Game 5. Bucks win and are up 3-2 … Eastern Conference finals. Can’t talk about the Bucks without talking about the city of Milwaukee, an American treasure of a city.
I was lucky enough to get to ‘The Mil’ once a year for about a dozen years and I always had an unbelievable time. In my mind, it’s always been underrated. Great people, compact downtown, action aplenty.
I thought I had a great feel for that city, and then I went recently — only this time, in the summer. Every time I’d been to Milwaukee had been in winter. It was always cold. Always. But that was cool. The rest of everything more than made up for it.
Summer was a different level entirely. The Milwaukee I just saw in June was incredible, a barrel of fun, a three-ring circus. As I like to say, “There was action.”
I got into sports because of my dad, but my mom would end up playing a huge role, too. Dad was a high school basketball coach, who later became a HS and college referee. I used to tag along with him to all his games, no matter what level.
My dad would get done teaching English at Muhlenberg High School outside of Reading, and then he would head home, change and go to his game. If Muhlenberg rings an early bell, yeah, my mom and dad taught at the same public high school, taught the same subject and had rooms next to each other.
Dad’s reffing schedule was pretty much locked in during fall and winter. Monday would be high school girls basketball; Tuesday was high school boys basketball; Wednesday was men’s college; Thursday was back to girls high school basketball; Friday, high school boys basketball; back to a college game on Saturday.
As for my mom, she had a more immediate and tangible link. Through dumb luck, at least as far as I was concerned, my mom happened to be best friends with Carmen Perroti. Mom and Carmen knew each other since they were young girls. Went — and still go — way back. When Carmen got married, she was known as Mrs. Colavito.
Yes, that Colavito. Rocky Colavito.