It’s becoming apparent that the more the Warriors win, the more they’re being scrutinized – particularly their on-court behavior. In recent weeks we’ve heard a lot about the Warriors showboating or over-celebrating or simply enjoying themselves a little too much when they’re playing.
There seems to a little bit of a backlash against the boys who are 51-5. That doesn’t seem to be the only backlash that’s occurring. Warriors’ fans are taking some heat, too. You don’t have to spend much time on Twitter to realize that if you’re not a Warriors’ fan, you might think Golden State fans are a little bit obnoxious, a touch arrogant, maybe even entitled.
My buddy Dan, who lives in SF but grew up in Boston, texted me this the other day: “I’m starting to dislike the Warriors. Not the team, per se, but the legions of front-running, freshly T-shirted fans proclaiming their dominance.”
Well, that’s not all of them. Few fan bases have the kind of connection with their team as Warriors fans have with theirs. It’s a passionate, loyal and diverse group. But, yes, a segment of Warriors fans have become overbearing and maybe even a little annoying. But it’s not every fan.
Still, if you can’t stand the Warriors, and you find yourself in a discussion/argument with one of them, here’s a “Hater’s Guide” for you, to understanding which kind Dubs fan you’re dealing with.
–The New and the Arrogant: For the most part, these fans just got here. You’d think this group would include a lot from the younger set and it does. But all ages are represented in this group. These fans tend to have very little sense of Warriors’ history, but that makes them no less certain about what they’re talking about. They do know that Stephen Curry can make baskets from very far away.
This group has been bolstered by the recent success of the San Francisco Giants (with three titles in six seasons) and the San Francisco 49ers (3 straight NFC title games before last season). They’re used to winning, that’s all they know and they expect it.
This group doesn’t really appreciate the greatness that’s going on, but it’s not going to stop them from yakking about it. This group tends to take criticism of their team as a personal affront, and they don’t like hearing about things like turnovers and free throw shooting.
They can be tough to talk to.
–The Well-Meaning but Naive: Hey, it’s not their fault they’re young. These fans have been invested for the past decade or so, give or take. They got into the Warriors around the time of “We Believe” or maybe that’s the time they started paying attention. These fans have heard that the Warriors were awful for decades before they came on the scene, but because they didn’t live through it, they really can’t get a sense for it.
They got caught up in “We Believe” and then in the snap of a finger it was gone. A few bad years went by and, voila! The Warriors are NBA champions! These fans have seen a 10, 12, 15 year-cycle of Warriors basketball and it’s had a little bit of everything.
These fans are smart enough to realize they’re watching history and greatness, but, poor them, they don’t have the age and experience to compare this team to the historically great teams. They want to believe this Warriors team is better than the mid-80s Celtics, the “Showtime” Lakers, the mid-90s Bulls, but they didn’t see those teams and so they can’t really say.
Again, not their fault just an age thing. These Warriors’ fans are generally fine to deal with.
–The Skeptical and Paranoid: It’s possible this group makes up the bulk of the Warriors fans. They’ve followed the squad for a long, long time but maybe aren’t quite old enough to remember the 1975 championship. Or maybe they moved to the Bay after that.
Those fans have had it the worst by far. They don’t get to remember Rick Barry and the sweep of the Washington Bullets. They have to remember Paul McPherson, Dean Oliver, Brian Cardinal, Carlos Rogers, Bimbo Coles, Tony Farmer, Clarence Weatherspoon, Bill Curley, John Coker, Geert Hammink … You get the picture.
Up until a few years ago, the high point of their cheering career was “Run TMC” and “We Believe.” In between, they endured an owner of their own getting booed at halfcourt and a player choking the coach.
The Warriors made the playoffs just once in 18 years on their watch for one stretch, including 12 straight years of misses. Think about it this way: These fans don’t remember much – or anything at all – about the 1975 title, but they do remember their team missed the playoffs 29 times in 35 years.
These fans are so conditioned for bad things to happen that they’re struggling to comprehend what’s even going on now. They feel like – fingers crossed, knock wood, find a four-leaf clover – it could end at any second. It’s hard for them to enjoy this and bask in this team’s greatness. They believe there’s darkness around the corner.
Chat with them at your peril. They know a hell of a lot about the team, but they can be a bummer to be around.
–The Wise and Reserved: These are the ones who can remember the 1975 championship, the longest-tenured of Warriors fans. They saw that title, understand basketball history and realize how unique this all is. That ’75 team, led by Rick Barry, was known for its chemistry, ability to pass, and the way it played as a team.
These fans never thought they’d see something like that again, let alone something even more exciting and electric. They went nine straight years after the mid-70s run without making the playoffs. They lived through the dark days of the Chris Cohan era. They thought their time had come and gone.
For these fans, this is all found money, it’s gravy, a Festivus Miracle, if you will. They have the perspective of a long and winding roller-coaster path and they know they’re living in a once-in-a-lifetime moment for the franchise. They might be a touch older, but they’re sure as hell living in the moment.
Talk to these fans as much as possible. They’re the ones who really know.