Despite what pictures of San Francisco during broadcasts of Warriors games might have you think, the team, believe it or not, plays in Oakland. While this is common knowledge to most avid fans, to a much more casual observer, the phrase Golden State can come off as pretty ambiguous.
To some, this may be frustrating or confusing, but to others the lack of clarity regarding what exactly “Golden State” represents can be the appeal of the team, giving them the title of the Bay’s team rather than just being tied to Oakland or San Francisco.
While a conversation about football or baseball will usually result in bickering between A’s and Giants fans or Raiders and 49ers fans, the Warriors are claimed by the entire Bay Area. Seems simple enough right?
No, not at all.
In a perfect world this would mean that when basketball season comes around, fans of both Oakland and San Francisco teams can put their differences aside and root for the Warriors together, peacefully. For many fans of the team, this probably ends up being the case, but for others, the ambiguity can lead to more of a debate.
A few years ago it was announced that the Warriors would be moving back to San Francisco, where the team played in the 60’s. The move had been in the works for a while, but the announcement and fanfare of it just so happened to coincide with the team’s rise and record-breaking success.
Being the “Bay’s” meant that even though the team plays in Oakland, the Warriors represented so much more than just the city they play in. However, as the team’s success grew, the connection to Oakland began to dwindle.
Did the Warriors get too good for Oakland?
Success brought a culture change. The rowdy diehard fans that once filled the seats of Oracle have been replaced by fans who are often attending games to show off, or as a status symbol. This change will only be exacerbated once the team is in San Francisco.
Even the team’s jersey have done nothing to acknowledge the their home city. The logo and primary jersey show the Bay Bridge, which connects San Francisco and Oakland, but the bridge is often mistaken for the Golden Gate Bridge, further tying the team to San Francisco.
The team’s Hardwood Classic jersey directly acknowledges San Francisco, with images of the Golden Gate Bridge, a cable car and text which reads “The City.”
On a national level, the team’s connection to San Francisco is even more emphasized as Oakland is essentially ignored. The non-local announcers will mention the team playing in ‘Golden State’ which, of course, is a nickname for California, not a real place.
Additionally, the shots of cities during breaks will almost always be of San Francisco, unless the networks are feeling generous and decide to squeeze in a rare shot of Lake Merritt. This situation isn’t exclusive to network television as the Warriors play in Oakland yet share a local channel with not the Raiders and A’s, but with the 49ers and Giants.
With the move to San Francisco steadily creeping up on us, one can only wonder what changes it will bring. The Warriors have a history there and were once called the San Francisco Warriors.
Maybe it’s my bias, mixed with pessimism, but as a huge fan of both the Warriors and Oakland sports teams, my biggest fear is that the move to San Francisco comes along with a name change. There is no way of knowing what changes this move will bring but for a non-San Francisco based fan of the Warriors, but it’s hard not to be worried about it.
Will the team attempt to keep this reputation of being the Bay’s team? Or will Oakland be completely ignored once the they’ve settled in San Francisco?