The Golden State Warriors have been my favorite sports team since around the year 2000.
I distinctly remember this era in Dubs history, because it felt almost like a rebirth for a team that was already on the decline.
Freshly renovated arena, check.
New logo and mascot, check.
All-Star game host, check.
I was also transitioning from childhood to adolescence, so I realized it made a lot more sense to root for the home team than a team with a logo or player I liked (Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, the ’97-’98 Indiana Pacers, etc.).
I was fortunate enough to not only attend most of the festivities that All-Star Weekend in 2000, which included the historic dunk contest with Vince Carter, Tracey McGrady, and Steve Francis, the Jason Williams elbow pass, and the All Star game itself, which was full of future hall-of-famers.
This was a time when the Warriors were consistently out-matched, night after night. They were so bad in fact, that you actually appreciated it a lot more when they were playing well.
It’s almost like when the sun is shining in Ireland: given how much it’s constantly raining, you appreciate the sun just a little bit more.
Fast forward to 2015, when the Warriors were playing for their first championship in 40 years.
There was an ephemeral relief when the Dubs finally won.
The loyal and bandwagon fans alike were elated. All was right in Warriors world.
Only problem is that with this success, came an unwarranted expectation.
Fans all of a sudden made losing an afterthought.
The team goes on to win 73 games in 2016, take a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals, only to eventually lose to LeBron’s undeniable will to win.
To say I wasn’t broken-hearted at first, is an understatement.
But eventually I accepted that anything after that 2015 championship was just a bonus, there was no need to be greedy.
And frankly, it pissed me off that so many of these so-called “fans” were losing their shit about rooting for a team that lost in pretty much the most upsetting way possible.
But this isn’t anything new for a Warriors fan.
We’re used to blowing 20-point leads to the Kobe-led Lakers.
We’re used to passing up franchise players in the draft for the likes of Todd Fuller.
This fan base was built on an appreciation for the small wins. A love for basketball. The excitement and unpredictability of hope.
And unfortunately all of that passion and loyalty got covered up in the midst of the team’s insane success over the last 5 years.
Instead, all Dubs fans are labeled as bandwagon, crybaby fans.
It sucks. We’re not all like this.
After their Game 5 loss last night, my friends figured I would be despondent. But as I already said, at this point everything the team achieves is just a bonus.
They’ve been champions twice in the past three years, and while I would love more championships, I also wouldn’t mind if they came back down to Earth a little bit.
As a Warriors fan, I’m always gonna be rooting for the squad, regardless of how well they’re playing.
Yes, it’s a lot more fun when they win, but it’s still a lot of fun when they lose.
Call me crazy, but when you’re at the top, what else is there for you to achieve?
More championships? Sure.
But isn’t the journey to excellence what’s most exciting?
Maintaining excellence plays second fiddle if you ask me.