When I wake up every morning, the first thing I do is turn on sports talk radio so that I can catch up on any bits of Bay Area sports news that I may have missed out on from the previous day. This morning, I was rather disturbed to learn about what had happened during the Chris Mullin number retirement ceremony during halftime of last night's game.
For those of you who have not heard about this, the Warriors fans showered owner Joe Lacob with a storm of boos and heckling when he attempted to talk during the ceremony. It got so bad that both Chris Mullin and Rick Barry felt the need to step up to the mike and plead with the fans to show more respect and allow the owner to speak.
To put it frankly, I was disgusted by how the Warriors fans acted. While I am a Warriors fan myself, I would not count myself as a die-hard, simply because I am not a huge basketball fan. But, as a truly die-hard Raiders fan, I can understand the point of view coming from a dedicated Warriors fan. This, however, was just plain wrong, and on more than one level.
First of all, think about the forum that the Warriors fans chose to express their discontent. This was not just another Joe Lacob press conference or interview, this was the ceremony to retire the jersey of one of the greatest Warriors ever. Chris Mullin is the definition of the Warriors. He played his heart out for the Dubs and, even after retiring, has continued to be one of the faces people most commonly associate with the Warriors. Regardless of who was speaking, the night was about Mullin. It was not about the current make-up of the Warriors. It was not about the trade made by Lacob, it was about honoring a man who gave his heart and soul to the franchise. The honor of having your number retired is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that only a very select few athletes will ever experience. Thanks to the childish stupidity of the Warriors fans at the game, Mullin's ceremony was tarnished, and that is not something that will ever change.
Second, think about why the fans were booing. They were upset over the trade of Monta Ellis. Again, as a die-hard Raiders fan, I get it. Monta was a fan favorite who also played his heart out for the franchise. But there are other things to consider, such as the fact that there were reports that Monta let ownership know that he no longer wanted to be a Warrior. He did not like how things had been going and wanted out. So, what, was Lacob supposed to keep a disgruntled player on the court? Would that really have been what was best for the team and its fans?
In addition, it is clear that Lacob made the trade because he wants to win and honestly believes that the trade will give the Warriors the chance to win. Sure, it wouldn't be this year, but let's be real: at this point in the season, the best the Warriors could have hoped for was an eighth seed and being one-and-done in the playoffs. Lacob has bigger plans, and wants to win long term. He wants to build a team that will compete for a championship. While you may not agree with the trade, you have to understand that he did it in order to make things better.
The best way I can explain the lack of logic is by comparing this to when the Oakland Athletics traded two of the big three, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, within a few days of each other. That move was NOT made to make the A's better, it was made to build up the farm system and get value for the pitchers before they walked away in free agency. It was breaking the team down with knowledge that it would likely struggle to be successful for a few YEARS, not just the remaining games in one season. Just like what the A's are doing now. It is not aimed at immediate results, or even results in the near future, it is aimed at the long term, but at the sacrifice of the right now. This is NOT what Joe Lacob is doing. He is looking for right now, but is being realistic in that right now means next season, because this season is lost.
Finally, I get that fans may disagree with the trade, but again, let's be honest, this was not trading Pau Gasol to the Lakers for Kwame Brown. You can argue one side got the better deal, but it is by no means a unanimous consensus that this was a horrific trade for the Warriors. In my opinion, Lacob believes, and rightfully so, that scorers are easier to come by in the NBA than big men and almost everyone agrees that the Warriors are in desperate need of a big man. Did they overpay? Maybe, but that's how sports work. You overpay for big men in the NBA just like you overpay for quarterbacks in the NFL and power hitters in MLB.
I understand the frustration of the Warriors fan, but as a die-hard fan of the A's and Raiders, both of which have also endured VERY difficult losing periods, I cannot understand being so disrespectful to a man who really and truly wants to make the Warriors a great franchise, and who really and truly is going to work hard towards that end. While I may not have agreed with all of the moves Al Davis made late in his life, I certainly never disrespected him in the way Warriors fans disrespected Joe Lacob last night. Why? Because I knew that every single move Mr. Davis ever made was for the sole purpose of making the team better, and I truly believe the same can be said of Joe Lacob.