Earlier this month, the Golden State Warriors won the 2022 NBA Finals in just six games, bringing title number seven to the Bay Area. Other sports teams and their respective fanbases aren’t so lucky, but again, there’s always a chance to start over in the offseason and try harder in the subsequent season.
Except if there isn’t a team to root for.
This isn’t to say that I don’t find any current NBA team appealing enough to root for, but my hometown of San Diego, California doesn’t have an NBA team.
San Diego had two NBA teams that came and went before I was even born. The San Diego Rockets were established in 1967, but the team was sold in 1971 to Texas Sports Investments — creating the Houston Rockets.
Once the San Diego Rockets were sold, the Buffalo Braves moved to San Diego in 1978 and became the San Diego Clippers. They left six years later in 1984 to become the Los Angeles Clippers.
I rooted for the Houston Rockets in 2017 after learning they were from San Diego, but it didn’t feel right. In February 2018, I attended my very first NBA game at Staples Center, watching the Los Angeles Clippers. A year later, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were traded to the Clippers, and I thought an NBA title was in reach.
A loss to the Denver Nuggets in 2020 made me question where I stood again. I was very upset at how the Clippers handled that 2020 offseason. Center and power forward Montrezl Harrell was traded to the Lakers, and head coach Doc Rivers found himself coaching the 76ers. I had followed the Clippers a short time and I knew that things wouldn’t be the same for them after that offseason.
Fast forward to June 2022. I was doing a survey for a journalism class, asking people who they wanted to win the 2022 NBA Finals. In hindsight, asking that question in the Bay Area wasn’t a very good idea because my results were severely skewed with the Warriors playing.
I was outside Bobby G’s Pizzeria on University Avenue on June 13, and I felt something new. Fans were wearing the Warriors’ blue and yellow colors and cheering as one. None of them doubted that their Warriors were going to win. Everyone seemed to know that Stephen Curry’s 3-point shot was going to go in, and roared collectively as soon as it did.
At halftime, I walked around some more and I was met with the same result in Downtown Berkeley. More blue and yellow. Large numbers of people gathered outside bars and restaurants just to watch the game. Even people that were just walking by and seemed to have no interest beforehand, found themselves stopping to watch the game for a moment.
The whole Bay Area seemed to stop and tune in just to watch the Dubs. This type of magic is what I was missing. The alluring nature of Golden State was enough to grab my attention.
On June 16, the day after my birthday, the Warriors won the NBA Finals and I took this as a sign. I don’t know what the future holds for the Golden State Warriors, but I figure I should stick around to find out.