What a soap opera!?!
The Golden State Warrior’s five-year dynasty is over. However, I felt no remorse when the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA finals, losing out on a chance at winning the world championship in basketball for three years in a row.
I didn’t feel too bad that the Warrior’s lost the championship and the last game they will ever play in Oakland, at Oracle Arena, because the odds were ever increasingly stacked against them each game they played, because of injuries, and yet they battled like champions more fiercely than any of the previous five season, each year playing in the finals, until the wheels fell off their dynasty!
The problem with being a great team in the National Basketball Association is that not only do you play in a preseason and a regular season, but three additional rounds in the post season if you make it to the finals. And the regular season is already too long! Basketball is the most strenuous sport, so its athletes (mostly brothas) are the best conditioned athletes in the world!
And during the regular season they have to run and jump and pass and shoot and rebound and jostle for the best position on the court and fly all over the country and beyond for 82 games or more, over a period of nine months. From September to June. So if you’re a great team like the Golden State Warriors who have been to the finals for five straight years, losing twice and winning the championship three times, it means for five straight years you have played over 100 games a year against other teams that are basically trying to dethrone you and beat your brains out.
The players and the players union have complained to the fat cat owners that the season is way too long, but all they care about is the bottom lines: Fewer games would mean fewer dollars (millions) in their pockets! There are some great and caring owners in pro sports, but to most of them the athlete for hire is valued little better than a race horse!
So it was no wonder when the wheels started to fall off the Warrior’s dynasty. Several players were injured and missed games during the regular season, so the Warriors learned to pace themselves for the marathon regular season which became just a warmup for the post season and the herculean, shango-warrior-like effort it would take to win the trophy, the big prize, the championship! Glory!
But during the playoffs, DeMarcus Cousins got hurt and played with wobbly wheels. Andre Iguodala got hurt, missed games and came back. He said one time he broke his leg and the Warriors said it was just a bruise.
Steph Curry played with a banged up hand. Draymond Green got hurt. Kevin Looney played through the pain of a badly bruised shoulder for several games. The Warrior’s biggest star, Kevin Durant, sprained his calf, was out for several games, some of which the Warriors continued to win.
And then he came back in a heroic effort to help the Warriors win their biggest must-win game, only to rupture his Achilles tendon after playing 12 spectacular minutes when he didn’t miss a shot, before he crumpled to the floor in pain and agony and the end of his season – if not his career!
Then the sledge hammer that broke the camel’s back was when Curry’s fellow splash brother, Klay Thompson, injured himself in a way that he will be out of possibly half of next season, or more, recuperating from his injury! The wheels feel off the dynasty … just like that!
Then the sports pundits began to blow the whistle. Kevin Durant’s injury was probably misdiagnosed by team doctors, who gave him the (company line) go ahead to return to the court and possibly jeopardize his whole future! Kevin was pressured to come back by people who were saying he was soft, by fellow players and by the owner, Joe Lacob, who cried in a postgame interview that he was innocent of any wrongdoing, but we could blame him for Kevin’s injury if we really needed to.
Former All Star player and NBA TV host Jalen Rose accused the owner of crying dry tears and said he was wasn’t really sorry. Jalen said the whole sports world is to blame! We all wanted to see Kevin come back! “We wanted our pound of flesh and we got it!”
But what a series! The Warriors battled like champions to the bitter end! Through a circus of events. The Warriors brand of basketball has become the sexiest in the league! With one of the three of the best players in the world – maybe the best, Kevin Durant, and the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who are called the Splash Brothers because of their ability to swish the nets from long distances, beyond the three point line (25 feet from the basket) and drive the crowd crazy with not one or two but three point shots!
These guys have broken all the three-point shot records in the league! And Steph Curry has been romantically accused of ruining the game, for not only does he have every team shooting and loading up with three-point shooters, but youth all over the world are chucking the ball from far out. The problem being, like once upon a time when every NBA player tried to dunk like Dr. J, the beauty and fundamentality of the game were lost. And for the first time the USA basketball team lost (to Argentina) in the Olympics.
In the hilarious Black secret agent spoof against The Man, “Undercover Brother,” Conspiracy Brother, played exquisitely in the movie by comedian Dave Chapelle, accuses The Man of instituting the three-point line to level the playing field for white guys, who couldn’t run and jump like the brothas. Well, if that was the plan, it surely back fired and made Golden State the sexiest team in the league!
The Warriors have become such a hot ticket that even the royal couple of pop culture, Jay Z and Beyonce, attended their playoff games and sat in front row seats next to the owner and his wife. And when the owner’s wife had the audacity to lean over Beyonce to talk to Jay Z, Beyonce’s fans, called The Hive and the Bee Hive, thought she was taking her white girl privilege a little too far, some of them even emailing her death threats! Blow the whistle! Offensive foul! Beyonce’s publicists had to send out a letter to her fans to chill, “She was just asking Jay Z what he wanted in his drink.”
Also among the celebrities were former 49er Colin Kaepernick, after recently winning a lawsuit against the National Football League, that the owners were in collusion for blackballing (or we should say “whiteballing”) him out of the league for his stance against police brutality, kneeling during the national anthem, sat next to the Warriors’ bench via invitation. They love him and his stance and made it a habit not to attend the White House to be honored for being champions.
While on the other side of the court, venture capitalist billionaire and minority owner of the Warriors, Mark Stevens, shoved and shouted a plethora of profanities at Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, when he fell into the crowd trying to keep the ball in play. The Warrior’s, terribly embarrassed, fined Stevens $500 million (ouch!) and banned him all of next year from attending Warriors’ game. I mean, really, dude!? Did you have a bet on the game? Otherwise how could you so lose your sense of reality that what you were watching is just a game and a part of a sport? Blow the whistle! Flagrant foul!
But perhaps the topper of this mad soap opera was after the buzzer when the Toronto Raptors won their first championship game ever, after a 25-year drought! As everybody in Canada, Toronto fans and players began to celebrate, Masai Ujiri, the brilliant general manager, African and Black man who brought superstar Kawhi Leonard to the team and was the main man who assembled Toronto’s championship run, was blocked by a security guard from celebrating on court with his players!
Perhaps the only general manager in sports who had that happen to him. The security guard threatening to sue Ujiri for getting in a shoving match with him. Blow the whistle! Black man banned from celebrating with his own team while black!
Attrition, expensive championship salaries, depleted banged up roster all helped to deplete Dub Nation and their “Strength in Numbers” platform. So now the Golden State (Oakland) Warriors are, like the Oakland Raiders, about to abandon the best sports fans in the world for greener pastures.
So it’s almost poetic justice that their dynasty is over and they’ll be hobbling into San Francisco with an inferior product, to play in front of actorvist Danny Glover, the last Black Man in San Francisco (who can afford to live there), and a new arena full of 18,000 high tech millionaires, who will be half-heartedly cheering for the Warriors while simultaneously sipping white wine, checking the stock market on their smart phones and surfing the internet.
Oakland is going to miss those million fan parties and victory parades when you crowned the whole town with championship trophies and jubilation! But hey, you gave us a great run while it lasted!
Blow the whistle!
Paradise is president of the International Black Writers and Artists. Some of his other works may be found at trueviberecords.com and @paradisethepoet on Instagram.
Postscript: Some books to check out are “Race Horse Men” by Katherine C. Mooney, “Curt Flood’s Fight for Freedom” by Brad Snyder and anything by esteemed Black sports psychologist, Dr. Harry Edwards, who says, “Black men are used primarily for their athletic skills to generate income for universities that educate mostly white graduates for successful careers.”