Here’s my “starting five” for most popular Warriors of all time

On Tuesday night, the Golden State Warriors honored one of the franchise’s most popular players: shooting guard Jason Richardson. Although he played only six seasons for Golden State, Richardson forged a bond with Bay Area fans that is still not forgotten — as his standing ovation between the first and second quarter last night showed.

During his playing days, Richardson was the closest thing this team had to a “real” Warrior. He competed every night, he worked tirelessly on his game and he improved each year with the team. Richardson won two slam dunk titles and was an integral member of “We Believe,” the Golden State team that ended a 12-year playoff drought in 2007.

After the game, I started to think of the top-five most popular Warrior players, and there is little doubt that J-Rich belongs on it. By the way, remember after the trade to Charlotte, Richardson took out an ad in Bay Area newspapers, thanking the fans for their support over the years? The guy was loved.

Here was my original “starting five,” if you will, of the most popular Golden State players.

 

–Chris Mullin

–Jason Richardson

–Baron Davis

–Monta Ellis

–Stephen Curry

I posted this lineup on Twitter and it was met, generally (haha), with positivity and reinforcement. There were some tremendous suggestions and other points of view that I’ve received and it’s caused me to make a tweak to the lineup. According to many of my Twitter followers, Tim Hardaway belongs on the list ahead of Monta Ellis.

The thinking was that Hardaway was a part of some successful teams, whereas Ellis was just a young, sixth man on the “We Believe” team. In other words, Hardaway played in the postseason for the Warriors, and Ellis did only that one year, as pretty much a marginal sub at the time.

Many readers said that Hardaway being a part of “Run TMC,” was a huge part of him being popular and that his “killer crossover” was a move that kids all over the Bay Area emulated. I can see that. There was also a lot of support for Mitch Richmond. But the reason I didn’t put either of these guys on my top-five list was because Hardaway may be more remembered as a Miami Heat player and Richmond a King.

There was a lot of feedback that while Davis was loved, he wasn’t really in the Bay Area long enough to be a fan favorite — just 3-plus seasons. That may be true, but Davis was the player who finally led the Warriors out of their playoff drought, which lasted an unbelievable 12 seasons.

There were also a ton of fans wanting Draymond Green on that first team. Down the line, I think Green is a lock. But I’d say he still needs a little more time.

Anyway, after getting lots of feedback — and hopefully more — here’s my first- and second-team of Most Popular Warriors of all time:

First team: Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, Jason Richardson, Baron Davis, Stephen Curry.

Second team: Monta Ellis, Mitch Richmond, Draymond Green, Antawn Jamison, Gilbert Arenas.

Honorable mention: Manute Bol, Jeremy Lin, Brian Cardinal, David Wood, Earl Boykins, Sarunas Marciulionis, Stephen Jackson, Larry Smith, Tom Tolbert.

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About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz currently co-hosts the "Warriors WrapUp" show and "NBA This Week" on 95.7-FM The Game, the franchise's flagship station, in San Francisco. He also co-hosts the Sal and Steiny podcast.
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18 Responses to Here’s my “starting five” for most popular Warriors of all time

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  6. ktweezee says:

    what a great topic. i think it should be, most painful warriors to watch.

    david wood should have been the warriors maskot for all of the cohan years instead of thunder. he represented who the warriors were for a long time, a bunch of nobodies trotted out to get ran on. oh boy, those were some painful years. somebody mentioned caffrey? huge signing back then. because he was a bull, he had some credibility. only to find out he was like a more fit version of clifford rozier.

    carlos rogers was it? he was like anthony randolph 1.0. we’ve seen some heartbreakers around here. guys who would get drafted or picked up and all of the fans would have some hope that things have changed – only to see another dude who wouldn’t make it on another nba roster.

    ronnie siekaly. man, what a pick up. turned out he had anger issues and always tried to break the backboard with his jump hooks.

    what about when they drafted, the chef, pob? finally, a legit shot blocker with some touch. hah

    anyways, the list could go on and finally, a team with talent to cheer for.

    Like

  7. Ed Wocher says:

    Gee, Purvis Short, Nate Thurmond, David Lee and Bernard King were certainly better players than some of your favorites. I guess you would have to differentiate between just popular and playing ability! And if fans enjoyed the way a guy played, then Rick Barry has to be mentioned, although from a personality perspective, not so popular.
    Ed

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  8. Anonymous says:

    How about Terry Teagle, Chris Gatling, Winnie Garland & Rod Higgins for honorable mention second team?

    Like

  9. Anonymous says:

    No disrespect meant, but did you mean David Lee instead of David Wood?

    Like

  10. Anonymous says:

    Matt – I think if you are going to go back as far as Larry Smith then need to include Purvis Short. He led Western Conference in scoring one year. He averaged 25 points per game over a 4 year span. He also defended Larry Bird the night Bird scored zero in Oakland.

    Guys like Wood and Cardinal were popular for a week

    Like

  11. Anonymous says:

    If going back as far as Larry Smith then I think you need to include Purvis Short. He led Western Confernce in scoring one year and averaged 25 points per game over a four year stretch.

    Guys like Cardinal and Wood were popular for a week.

    Like

  12. Anonymous says:

    Starting 5 to have a party with
    Michael Ray Richardson
    Mookie Blaylock
    Chris Mullin
    Robert Parish
    Benard King

    Like

  13. terrygca says:

    You started this on Twitter as only the best of the last 25 years, but don’t mention that here.

    My five: Mullin, Hardaway, Spreewell, Davis, Curry.

    4 of the 5 here are locks. Until he choked the coach, Spreewell was a tremendous player and great underdog makes it big story. I think he at least deserves a mention in the piece.

    Like

  14. Anonymous says:

    No Nate? Al Attles doesn’t rate? Jeff Mullins was very popular. Phil Smith? Sleepy Floyd? Gilbert Arenas was barely a Warrior before leaving. Adonal Foyle for sure.

    Like

  15. Anonymous says:

    Small ball starting 5
    Hardaway
    Mr. Jennings
    Boykins
    Avery
    Bogues

    Like

  16. Anonymous says:

    My starting 5 could kick your starting 5’s ass!
    Greg Ballard
    Latrell Sprewell
    Chris Mills
    Jerome Kersey
    Stephen Jackson

    Like

  17. Dave says:

    Nate Thurmond?

    Like

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hey Matt, Bob Sura here. So Umm me and Bimbo were talking and wanted ti know if you got a second team team honorable mention. Oh don’t forget about J. Caff

    Like

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