Guide for Warriors’ haters: Get to know Golden State’s fanbase

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.

 

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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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10 Responses to Guide for Warriors’ haters: Get to know Golden State’s fanbase

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the first comment that your article was dead on. There are no guarantees in sports. Curry’s knee and ankle history should be proof enough to the Dub fanbase that things could go south really fast if he were significantly injured again and lost for the rest of the playoffs.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I think you nailed it with the fanbase. I happen to fall under the category of the Skeptical and Paranoid based on my years as a fan. I was only 5 yrs. old when Rick Barry and the boys won the title in ’75 and did not become a fan until I met Clifford Ray, who was shooting a public service commercial at my elementary school in Oakland in 1978. So as you already know, we have SUFFERED through many years of poor ownership, poor coaching, bad GM’s, bad Lottery picks, bad lottery luck, uninspired player personnel and all around NBA obscurity. I can say that I was able to witness first hand the brief moments of glory i.e. the game 4 victory at home against the Spurs in ’91 and the first round upset in the We Believe years. Until now I never imagined a Warrior team dominating the League the way it is doing now and although I am overwhelmed with joy that our team is not just the toast of the NBA but the toast of ALL sports. I cant help but to feel like I am going to wake up from this euphoric dream and come to the realization that we are in the middle of another 35 win season. As a long time fan, I have a lot of mental scars to overcome. Those of us who have been on the journey for 25 yrs. or more have been laughed at and ridiculed by just about every other fan in the league. We were looked upon as hopeless fools who didn’t know about the game based on the team that we supported. I never imagined the tables turning to the point where we are the defending NBA Champion and are challenging for the best regular season record Ever. But I am learning to take it all in and enjoy it, but I find myself at times speechless and overwhelmed by what is taking place. All I know is that I don’t want to die anytime soon. Go Warriors!, Let’s go A’s and Go Raiders! it is our time to shine.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m a proud bandwagon fans of bay area teams especially the SF teams since I move here five year ago. I’m just enjoy the game and the spirit of local teams. I don’t think many local people are really that defensive about the teams and I think your friend must see it online.According my time here the teams usually enjoy success so I don’t feel most pain older fans, but I watch the niners for the last year so it must count for something right.

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  4. Ben says:

    I’m of the Skeptical and Paranoid age and as an A’s fan too my negativity can be overwhelming. But I gotta say I am just purely enjoying this. Watching them is almost…..peaceful. I’m totally in the moment and loving it. And to all the haters out there: we don’t care about you, it’s been a long hard road as an East Bay fan (not a Giants fan) and we deserve this! Plus these are really good guys.

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  5. Count me in the Skeptical/Paranoid group but we also need to enjoy this. I Was teased in junior high for being a W’s fan. That is not happening to kids today.

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  6. Jackie says:

    Love my warriors squad for life…Stephen curry is the cream of the crop…I don’t know why ppl hating on them these guys comes out every night and play there heart and soul out….I’m from Canada and I stay up late for every games no matter how late they play and get up 5 every morning for work…..Let’s Go Warrior’s

    Jackie

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  7. I’m in the so-called “Skeptical and Paranoid” group but I don’t automatically think everything will come crashing down or am I a “bummer” to talk with. I went through the bad of drafting of Chris Washburn, Mullin’s rehab, trading Richmond and Webber, Sprewel choking Carlisemo, drafting Joe Smith #1, etc. But also went through the good like Sleepy’s 4th quarter against the Lakers, upsetting the Jazz in the ’89 playoffs, RUN TMC, drafting Webber, the We Believe team, drafting Curry, Thompson, Green and winning the Finals last year. I appreciate NBA history and know this is a very unique and special team. You need some sub-categories since not everyone is a “bummer” to be around from this segment.

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  8. Paul says:

    I meant ‘years’ PLURAL of losing.

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  9. Paul says:

    I’ve been following the Warriors since about 1973. The 1974-1975 season was a total surprise to everyone. I’m somewhere between the Wise and Reserved and the Skeptical and Paranoid. Because this kind of a run just about never happens to any team in any sport-much less our Warriors who have had so much misfortune (trading Robert Parish, Chris Washburn, the choke-hold on P.J, Kobe torching the Warriors time and time again in the last minute of games, Al Attles sad frown and shaking his head during the NBA Lottery broadcast, Dave Smrek, Todd Fuller, Les Jepsen, and on). That and the year of constant losing and missing the playoffs. No free agent would ever want to come to Golden State. What made it sadder was the fact that yes, they DID have at one time Rick Barry, Phil Smith, George Johnson and others and were a great team. That went away for what seemed like forever. Now-all that bad ju-ju seems to be gone and replaced with the absolute polar opposite. This period is a lot better than the period 20 years ago of “It’s A Great Time Out!” and “THUNDER” the mascot. Sorry to go on here but this is just incredible what is happening here. It’s all come around in multitudes for the Warriors.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    OMG I’m in the Skeptical and Paranoid grouping and you are totally right. I cant believe this is happening for us..

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