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Draymond Green: ‘There’s no love like Oakland love and the way they rock for their own’

City celebrates what could be Warriors’ final championship in ‘The Town’

OAKLAND, California — The elephant in Oracle Arena will make his presence known next fall at the start of the Golden State Warriors’ final season in “The Town.” But on Tuesday, the city of Oakland was focused on its NBA championship party, the third in four years and perhaps the last for the Warriors here.

“The parade in Oakland is amazing because you get the opportunity to see all the support that we have around here. There’s no love like Oakland love and the way they rock for their own,” Green told The Undefeated.

The Warriors arrived to what is now the NBA’s oldest arena in the then-Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena in 1971 after playing primarily in San Francisco for nine seasons. The Warriors changed from San Francisco to Golden State to represent the entire state of California. But in reality, the Warriors were representing Oakland in their move.

While the millennial and young Warriors fans are spoiled, this franchise had many more lean years than title ones. The Warriors won a 1975 NBA championship, but the two home games were played at the Cow Palace in the San Francisco suburb of Daly City instead of Oakland because of a scheduling conflict. The Warriors lost in the Western Conference finals in 1976 and semifinals in 1977. The Warriors had only nine winning seasons and six playoff appearances from 1978-2012. Let that haplessness sink in. Even so, Warriors fans still came in droves to Oracle Arena because of their love for the game of basketball and their team. The Warriors averaged 18,497 fans when they won just 23 games during the 2011-12 season, according to Stastica.com.

After so many years of just wishing to make the playoffs, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Green, Andre Iguodala and coach Steve Kerr finally made the impossible possible for Golden State fans by winning an NBA championship in 2015. Two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant arrived and helped the Warriors get two in a row in 2017 and 2018. The Warriors’ 2015 NBA championship was the first for Oakland to celebrate since the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball won the World Series in 1989. But even that A’s title party was deeply subdued since it was just days after the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The soon-to-be departing NFL’s Oakland Raiders have not won a Super Bowl while in Oakland since 1980.

Making each of the Warriors’ title parades bittersweet for Oakland is the knowledge that this team is slated to move to the new Chase Center in San Francisco during the 2019-20 season. To respectfully commemorate their time in Oakland, the Warriors came out with popular black jerseys this past season using their nickname, “The Town,” which rapper Too $hort said he made popular with his music in the early 1990s.

So why are the Warriors moving 8 miles away to San Francisco?

The Warriors are attracted to moving to one of the world’s most popular cities that currently has no indoor venue with more than 8,500 seats. It is a privately funded venue. The move will allow the Warriors to maximize their success by dramatically raising their season ticket and suite prices in posh San Francisco and be much closer to the money of Silicon Valley on the other side of the Bay Area.

Unquestionably, the Chase Center will be state of the art and perhaps the NBA’s best. The San Francisco waterfront locale will be much prettier as ferries, water taxis and boats will eventually take fans to games, concerts and events. But the big question among Warriors fans is will Chase Center come close to matching the soul, diversity and volume that is Oracle Arena, or “Roaracle,” as it is nicknamed? The expectation is a corporate, less diverse and gentrified crowd. With each passing regular season, potential playoffs and potential NBA Finals game, it will get closer to turning the lights out in Oracle Arena.

San Francisco life will be a far cry from what the Warriors have been accustomed to in Oakland. The Town is still known as an African-American city despite gentrification, foodie restaurants and high housing prices. It is the home of the Black Panther Party. The Town has produced music excellence in MC Hammer, Too $hort, Sheila E., Tony, Toni, Tone, Digital Underground, Keyshia Cole, Tower of Power, the Pointer Sisters and many others. NBA Hall of Famers Bill Russell, Gary Payton and Jason Kidd are from here. Sure, there have been problems with drugs and violence. Noisy helicopters are known as “ghetto birds” when police are using them to watch over the ‘hood, but on this day they were used by television stations to show the parade on a sunny day and the underrated beauty of Lake Merritt. You know, the lake where the sunglasses-wearing lady with the cellphone recently called the police on black folks for barbecuing.

Oaklanders, however, are already preparing for the reality of life without the Warriors. But Tuesday’s parade that went from the Warriors’ Old Oakland headquarters through Broadway downtown, passing the likes of rapper Mistah F.A.B.’s hip-hop Dope Era store and alongside beautiful Lake Merritt, enabled the locals to sip champagne, toss confetti and enjoy the moment with their beloved team in The Town.

“It’s like Disneyland touring the ghetto,” Mistah F.A.B. said. “Imagine all the projects and inner-city ghetto kids getting a chance to go to Disneyland for free. It raises the morale of the city and does wonders for the local businesses. Going to be a sad day upon their departure.”

Said Warriors season ticket-holder and Oakland native Rick Dumas: “This at least allows us to focus on sports. We can forget about all the stuff around us and cheer for a team.”

The Warriors players, coaches and front office celebrated their title before the parade by reminiscing about their trying season on and off the floor before jumping on floats and talking about it all on a stage. Perhaps a year from now, the Warriors will have a fourth championship in five years and will celebrate for the last time in Oakland. Curry gave The Town hope for a swan-song parade next year.

“We are going to try to get greedy and go get some more,” Curry said to CSN Bay Area.

Either way, the Warriors should show Oakland the love that Green spoke of by having a parade a year from now to say thank you and goodbye.

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.