Myers pinpoints when Warriors' dynasty truly began originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- To the best of his abilities, Bob Myers rattled off a long list of people to thank Tuesday in the opening monologue of what was his farewell press conference in front of Bay Area media members.
As Myers steps down from being the Warriors' general manager and president of basketball operations (one season as assistant GM, 11 as lead GM and the last seven seasons also being president of basketball ops), he listed players from the present and the past.
The Big Three of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were lauded, as was Andre Iguodala. Kevon Looney has entered that stratosphere, and along with him, Myers also mentioned Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole.
Stars, role players, veterans and younger players with plenty of years to go all left a lasting impact on Myers, and vice versa. The same goes with a handful of coaches.
His friendship and bond with Steve Kerr that extends far past an arena or basketball court is well documented, and he wasn't left out. Assistants Mike Brown, Luke Walton and Alvin Gentry also all were thanked. So was the man who led the Warriors on the court, hired two months after new owner Joe Lacob brought Myers aboard as assistant GM.
"Mark Jackson was my first coach, and Mark was so right for the time," Myers said. "He was what we needed. We needed confidence. Our players needed it. Our organization needed it and he brought it, and only the way that he could.
"And got us to start believing in ourselves, and that's an important thing. He brought that confidence and leadership."
The beginning of Jackson's coaching career wasn't smooth roads from the start. Early bumps came in bunches. The Warriors finished 23-43 in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, though a good deal of what was behind their lowly record were reasons outside of Jackson's doing.
Curry? His nagging ankle issues held him back to only 26 games, a problem that eventually became and curse first and a gift later after Curry signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension the next October. The last game he played in the 2011-12 season was a four-point win against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 11, improving the Warriors' record to 17-21.
Golden State's starting five for that game was Curry, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright, David Lee and Ekpe Udoh. Dominic McGuire played the most minutes off the bench, a group that also featured a rookie Thompson, Nate Robinson, Brandon Rush, Andris Biedrins, Charles Jenkins, Jeremy Tyler and Chris Rush.
Green still was a senior at Michigan State, and the Warriors as we know them now were far from that version back then.
The tides turned the next season. The Warriors snapped a streak of missing the playoffs for five straight seasons, and the Splash Brothers were born in late December of 2012 by Brian Witt, then of warriors.com. Jackson called Curry and Thompson "the greatest shooting backcourt in the history of the game" in April of that 2012-13 season, the duo's first full season together.
Confidence was created, giving Dub Nation a show they've never seen. It had only just begun, too.
"You know, as I think about making the playoffs, it was such a huge thing, and I think that was 2012 -- my first year as GM -- and then beating Denver," Myers said. "I remember going to that Denver series thinking, 'I hope we don't get swept. I just hope we don't get swept.'
"And obviously winning the series was the beginning of all of it. It was the beginning of -- it was the beginning of this, and the players were showing us the way and leading us and guiding us."
A 25-year-old Curry charged the No. 6-seeded Warriors to a first-round series win over the No. 3-seeded Denver Nuggets in six games, averaging 24.3 points and 9.3 assists, previewing what was next for the rest of the NBA.
The lasting image of the Warriors' upset playoff victory was Curry and Andre Iguodala, then a member of the Nuggets, embracing for a long hug. Iguodala knew. He saw the vision, and became a Warrior two months later as part of a three-team, multi-player deal between the Warriors, Nuggets and Utah Jazz that kept Myers up all night.
But the Warriors fell in the first round of the playoffs the next season, their first having Iguodala on their side. Merely making the playoffs would have been a major win for so many Warriors teams prior to that point. Not anymore.
Jackson was who the Warriors needed when he arrived in 2011. Myers and many others realized the clock was stuck on Jackson's time, needing a new voice, a new roll of the dice to unlock the Warriors as we now know them.
"And then Steve [Kerr] came along," Myers said. "And oh, boy, you know, what a guy. What a once-in-a-lifetime friendship, once-in-a-lifetime person who -- he's a fantastic coach. He's an all-time, top Hall of Fame coach.
"But you can go through your whole life and not meet people like that, not make friendships like that. It's super rare."
Six trips to the NBA Finals in an eight-season span is super rare. Winning four titles is super rare. Winning 73 regular-season games is a level above super rare.
The steps to a dynasty were created before four championships came back to the Bay, through wins and through losses. The doors to a mansion of NBA immortality were swung wide open soon after, and Myers now can walk back down those steps knowing he leaves behind a legacy unmatched by most.