The Golden State Warriors' championship tour is now complete. More than four months after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the 2015 NBA Finals, the Warriors raised their first title banner in 40 years and received their championship rings during a ceremony before Tuesday's 2015-16 season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans. With every key player back on the roster and the full 2014-15 coaching staff in the building, the Warriors and their fans had a chance to engage in a full celebration of the greatest season in franchise history.
Take a look at the full ceremony here:
Golden State enters this season with a smaller coaching staff than anticipated after it was announced that Steve Kerr would not start the season on the sidelines due to an ongoing recovery from offseason back surgery. Yet Kerr was in the building to receive his first ring as a head coach, adding it to the five he won as an NBA player. Kerr became the first coach to capture a title in his first season since Pat Riley won with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982.
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Associate head coach Alvin Gentry was also in the building, albeit in his new role as head coach of the Pelicans. But that change predictably did not deter the Oracle Arena crowd from giving Gentry a huge cheer.
The remaining title-winning players were given their rings in alphabetical order, which means that the introduction of MVP Stephen Curry afforded fourth-year center Festus Ezeli to receive the biggest ovation of his life. But center Andrew Bogut will steal headlines from Curry for following through on this offseason promise to those rivals and analysts who claim that a 67-15 team with one of the highest average point differentials in NBA history got lucky:
"I've got my ring fitted for my middle finger"- Bogut on KNBR talking about the Clippers/Rockets hating
— warriorsworld (@warriorsworld) October 9, 2015
Yes, Bogut actually put his first championship ring onto his middle finger:
Maybe that's what NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, another veteran receiving his first title, decided was worthy of a little dance:
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 28, 2015
Curry returned after the ring ceremony to thank the fans and everyone else — including departed teammates David Lee, Ognen Kuzmic, and Justin Holiday — who allowed the team to exceed all preseason expectations. Then it was time to raise the second banner in the franchise's Bay Area history. It looks like this:
Congratulations to the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors. Their title defense starts now.
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