Where do I start?
With the two most exciting sporting events I have witnessed live?
With the fact that in the early 90's I was a season ticket holder for the Golden State Warriors for three years. It just so happened that the Warriors had Billy Owens, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin and a chunk of great young stars that made it look like Golden State would be the team of the decade going forward?
With the fact that bad management and coaching destroyed that team for the next 20-plus years so that in frustration I gave up my tix and vowed never to watch or attend another game?
With Stephen Curry and his mates?
Ok, so I started, and indeed I have to admit baseball and football have always been my first loves, hoops being at best marginal. But in 1993, my friend Mark Berenberg (a serious hoops aficionado) talked me into a quarter share of Golden State tickets for the coming season.
It was great. I knew the Warriors were not that strong at the time, but I knew they had Run TMC (Tim Hardaway, Richmond and Mullin) and were a sellout every game. I also knew the team traded Richmond for top pick Billy Owens in 1991, breaking up the high-scoring troika, but adding a big power forward to the team would push the team towards a championship.
After adding Chris Webber, with Mark, and our friend Richard Kweller, we bought in, and 1993 seemed too promising to believe when the Warriors swapped Penny Hardaway and three future first rounders (sigh) for the rights to the big (6'10") Michigan sophomore who, when drafted, did not like playing center.
However, the Warriors beat the seemingly invincible Knicks, and later the Orlando Magic, who featured Shaquille O'Neal.
That game with Orlando was easily the most exciting and intense sporting event I have ever seen, and that includes a lot of baseball games, featuring a perfect game, a pair of All-Star games and a bunch of post-season affairs. I saw Willie McCovey's final hit, Rickey Henderson break the stolen base record and Dallas Braden's perfect game.
But, nothing matches the final ten minutes of that game. Actually, it was the final minute, which stretched into ten minutes, and saw the Warriors, down by five, return to win after Shaq fouled out and Latrell Sprewell blocked the final shot (that almost looked like goaltending).
The fans inside the Oakland Coliseum were on their feet the entire time, screaming and stomping such that it felt the mezzanine level of the Arena was moving with each bounce, shot, and pass.
However, after that the wheels fell off. P.J. Carlesimo was hired. Sprewell choked him. Owens never panned out. Mullin and Webber and Richmond were traded. And, it just seemed unconscionable to me to keep watching such awful mismanagement, so I swore off basketball in person and on TV. Period.
I stayed away, faithfully, at least till a guitar lesson in the middle of last year when Steve (that would be Steve Gibson, my teacher) told me I really had to check out Stephen Curry.
It was not until the final game against Cleveland was starting up last June, principle sort of went out the window, at least for a game. That is till the other night, for in the discipline of blocking basketball from my psyche, it has not occurred to me to look till it was noted the other day that Golden State was on the verge of going 16-0.
So I watched, kind of in amazement. Maybe this team is as good as the one I discarded could have been? Maybe better, but certainly Steve was right when he said Curry was good. So is the entire team.
I guess what I am saying is, when I said, "I would never watch you again, Golden State, I did not really mean never, and I am back, if you will have me?"
By the way, the second most exciting sporting event I ever attended was a high school championship basketball game that pretty much ended the same way as the Warriors and Magic.