Warriors celebrate arena groundbreaking with dancing excavators, duh

Ball Don't Lie
Acrobats and construction equipment perform at the Chase Center groundbreaking ceremony. (AP)
Acrobats and construction equipment perform at the Chase Center groundbreaking ceremony. (AP)

The Golden State Warriors have had plans to move from Oakland to San Francisco pretty much since owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the team from Chris Cohan in 2010. The team’s plans have changed several times due to community opposition (and a toilet-shaped design), but the new Chase Center appears set to open for the 2019-20 season without major issue. In fact, the franchise officially broke ground on the site in the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood (not far from the San Francisco Giants’ beautiful AT&T Park) on Monday.

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The groundbreaking ceremony was a celebration, as expected. Lacob commented that Kevin Durant will be in a Warriors uniform for a while, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee made his 427th unappealing public appearance in a row, and various other organization luminaries basked in the rich-person glow that only an arena groundbreaking can provide.

Also, three giant excavators danced to Johann Strauss’s “The Blue Danube” while acrobats performed in construction-worker uniforms:




At least Lacob and Guber didn’t do anything to suggest they are out of touch with the team’s traditional (and extremely supportive) fan base in Oakland. That would have been embarrassing.

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If you’re one of the many people who found this aspect of the Chase Center groundbreaking a little weird and unfamiliar, don’t worry. The event still had people in suits wearing hard hats and shoveling dirt:


And Lacob assured San Francisco’s wealthy tech workers and aggressive gentrifiers that he and the Warriors are on their side:


All in all, the groundbreaking seems like a big success. You have to wonder why anyone sees the move out of Oakland as a negative. Isn’t that right, Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group?

For decades, the Warriors have refused to acknowledge our city. Years ago, during the previous ownership, I asked why they weren’t the Oakland Warriors. Years ago, after they introduced the retro San Francisco jerseys, I asked why there were no Oakland uniforms. Each time, they gave the same answer: our fans are all over the Bay Area. “We have season ticket holders in Walnut Creek and Concord” … “We have to think about our fans in the South Bay” … “We’ve been Golden State for so long, why change?” … Blah. Blah. Blah.

Translation: Oakland is too violent, too ghetto and too ugly and we don’t want to share in that brand. Even where the stadium is located – deep East Oakland, where the undesired grime and ruggedness is the décor – is deemed unfit for such a glamorous team.

For 50 years, Oakland has embraced the Warriors. This city was the refuge back when San Francisco didn’t support the Warriors and then-owner Franklin Mieuli was ready to bounce to San Diego. This region, with its rough edges and bent on loyalty, made the Warriors relevant when the franchise wasn’t shiny enough to attract San Francisco’s wealth. Oakland made the Warriors. The East Bay made the Warriors. […]

But today, I’m siding with those who are hurt by the having their beloved team snatched from them, only to be dangled where they can still see it. Today, while the Warriors celebrated their hard-fought achievement, I’d rather chill with those who see this as an elite takeover – who invested into the Warriors and whose interest makes this team cool and hip and popular enough for the ownership to go make a killing on the Silicon Valley crowd. Today, I choose not to act like the Warriors moving to San Francisco is a great thing.

I guess all that grime and rugged decor would’ve been more marketable if it’d been backed by a classic Viennese waltz.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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