There’s no denying the special relationship that exists between the Warriors and their fans, and that love affair was displayed to the highest degree on Wednesday evening at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority’s Fan Rally at Oracle Arena.
Officially, the event served as a way for city leaders and the Warriors to come together and thank the fans for the passionate support they displayed throughout the 2012-13 season. Sold out crowds packed the house for the Warriors’ final 38 games of the season, the last six of which came during a postseason run that put Warriors Ground’s electric atmosphere on display to the rest of the sports world, and the rally applauded that effort with free admission, player appearances and discounted merchandise, not to mention a continual stream of shoutouts from the dignitaries and players.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan went so far to proclaim the day (Tuesday, May 22, 2013) as Golden State Warriors Fans Day in the City of Oakland, but really, it was much more than that. Already with a reputation as the best fans in the NBA, #DubNation took it to a whole new level during the Warriors’ playoff run, and to say they simply showed up again on Wednesday would be a massive understatement.
Nearly a week after the Warriors’ season ended, on a Wednesday night, and with barely more than a day’s notice, approximately 6,000 fans attended and created an atmosphere that felt every bit as magnificent as that experienced during the Warriors’ playoff run, complete with the chants of WAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSSS.
Only this time, the players in attendance – Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes, Carl Landry, Brandon Rush, Festus Ezeli and Kent Bazemore – could let their guard down and relax with the fans instead of trying to remain focused on a particular game. As a result, the players were often seen signing autographs, posing for pictures and more than anything else, sharing a laugh with the fans.
One day after receiving the key to the city at a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, Stephen Curry joined Brandon Rush in rebounding during a shooting contest on the court, Kent Bazemore struck his #Bazemoring pose with fans, Carl Landry showed off his “Landry Flex” and Harrison Barnes recognized five kids from local Boys & Girls Clubs across the Bay Area. Heck, even Festus Ezeli took to the microphone at the end of the night for a spur-of-the-moment passionate speech in which he pledged bigger and better things for the Warriors in 2013-14.
If nothing else, Wednesday’s Fan Rally offered further proof that the love between the team and its fans is reciprocal. The two entities fuel each other and in the world of sports, there is nothing more beautiful.