COMMENTARY | The Golden State Warriors have one of the most special relationships in the NBA, largely in part to their passionate and rabid fan base. Even when the product on the floor is lacking, Warriors fans always have an unbridled emotional attachment for their basketball team.
Through success and failure, this is why we love Warriors fans:
1. They have always 'believed'
Even before the "We Believe" 2006-07 season when they upset the No. 1-seed Dallas Mavericks in the first round, Warriors fans have always "believed." The Warriors have only made the playoffs twice in the past 19 seasons, yet they continue to be lauded by the national media as one of the most passionate fan bases in the NBA.
Through thick and thin, Warriors fans continue to have optimism every season despite having a track record encouraging them to think otherwise. They have pride and an emotional attachment to this team at all times, even though disappointment always seems to be right around the corner.
This is the epitome of believing and supporting a team. This is what it means when Warriors fans "believe."
2. They truly savor victories and improvements, even the small ones
As true long-suffering fans, wins and accomplishments carry more weight. Unlike franchises that historically have consistent success like the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, Warriors fans value success in all shapes and sizes much more because of the problems and hardships they've faced.
From the pain attached to every poor decision or past unlucky break to the lackadaisical effort put forth by the Chris Cohen regime, the time and effort it has taken to build a better roster has been slow and stagnant at times. When glimmers of hope do take place like the "We Believe" season or last year's breakout performance featuring a young, promising core, fans appreciate these small steps of growth as they watch something displeasing flourish into something promising.
Warriors fans value, appreciate and savor the journey to success.
3. They are a collective of all Bay Area fans
The Bay Area is one of the few markets with multiple professional teams in one area for the same sport. In the NFL, there's the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders. MLB has the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. Even the two major Bay Area colleges -- the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal -- have an intense, storied rivalry.
With the Warriors, the entire region comes together to support their local NBA team. All of the other sports' dichotomous fan bases come together as a united group and bring their passion together for one cause. As a region known for displaying unwavering support their local teams, a collection of all fans for Golden State creates quite the powerful punch as a fan base.
4. They show up in full force…
Perhaps it's partially because of their status as the only NBA team in the Bay Area, but the Warriors have always had little trouble packing Oracle Arena. Last season, the team had their second-highest total attendance in franchise history with 794,320 fans, averaging over 19,000 patrons every home game. The Warriors have averaged over 18,000 fans per game in each of the last eight seasons.
Ending the 2012-13 season with a 32-game sellout streak, the Warriors finished fifth overall in the NBA in average attendance. Unlike some franchises like the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers that struggle to get people to their arena, no matter how good it performs, Golden State has rarely had nights where it played in front of a sparse home crowd.
This large, energetic crowd presence has been recognized league-wide and has even started to factor into free-agent decisions. This offseason alone, all four free-agent acquisitions -- Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, Jermaine O'Neal, and Toney Douglas -- have referred to the powerful presence of Oracle Arena as a reason why they're looking forward to playing home games in Oakland. With a passionate fan base in place, a winning culture will soon follow, enticing better players to the Bay Area.
5. Even after the end of a season...
Nothing signifies a fan's passion for his or her team more than supporting a team after defeat. Over the past two decades, the Warriors have certainly had their fair share of defeats.
Even when a season is over, Warriors fans don't turn their back on their team and jump off the bandwagon. Instead, they continue to stay in tune with the franchise's every move over the offseason and avidly appreciate the effort their team puts forward.
As witnessed by the last-minute Fan Rally held at Oracle Arena on May 22, 2013, soon after the team's Game 6 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, approximately 6,000 fans packed the arena to recreate the electric playoff atmosphere and once again thank their team for a great season. Instead of sulking in defeat, they displayed love for their team and the players showed compassion and care back to the fans.
There are few scenarios in sports more pleasant than the special bond between Warriors fans and the team they ardently support.
Austin Chang is a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports writer covering the Golden State Warriors for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is the Associate Editor of Sports Out West and an intern for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow this contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.
- Sports & Recreation
- Golden State Warriors
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