The Golden State Warriors are on a crash course with history as they attempt to make a fifth straight NBA Finals and win a third consecutive title.
If they complete another championship, they will have done it in the franchise’s final season in Oakland, which would be the perfect send-off for a city they’ve nearly spent five decades in.
The Warriors have made a big effort to celebrate the end of an era at Oracle Arena, and players are getting sentimental. In a wide-ranging interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” the team talked about what the city has meant to them.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 15, 2019
The Warriors first played in Oakland in 1966 and have stayed in the arena since 1971. However, new ownership broke ground on a billion-dollar arena in 2016 that will move the team across the Bay to San Francisco for the 2019-20 season.
Generations of fans in Oakland have grown up being able to walk to games and feel a part of the community through thick and thin. That has led to a very mixed reaction to the move among fans and players.
“Oracle, Oakland has been great to us,” shooting guard Klay Thompson said. “You saw it during the parades. A million plus people in a city of about 500,000. For people to pour into the city and support us means so much. Just to be a light in the city as well, I know it’s had some rough times, but to be that light for people and to give people hope like we’ve been doing in Oakland for the last 40 years, however long we’ve been here. Of course it’s sentimental. We’ve done great things in that building and had great memories.”
‘We might as well go out and get this win’
The Warriors aren’t lacking for motivation this year. There’s a feeling that this could be the last go-around with this group since Kevin Durant, Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins are all set to hit free agency.
Giving Oakland one last championship would be an admirable goal, and doing it in Oakland would be even sweeter. The Warriors have clinched only one of their three championships at Oracle Arena; their 2015 and 2018 championships were both won in Cleveland.
“That’s the situation,” point guard Stephen Curry said of the move. “We know It doesn’t matter if we’re winning or losing, we’re leaving. So we might as well go out and get this win.”
Head coach Steve Kerr is of the same mindset. The final game at Oracle Arena will come whether they like it or not, so leaving as champions is the best way to end things.
“It's our last year at Oracle,” Kerr said. “It's our last year in Oakland. And this city has been really special to us and to the Warriors for the last four decades or so.
“[Winning it] is the goal."
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