David West's post-championship speech still resonates with Golden State Warriors
NBA.com staff reports
It may not rank up there with Rudy Tomjanovich’s famous “don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion!” speech after The 1995 Finals, but David West’s words after Game 5 of The 2017 Finals weren’t any less from the heart. His words following the title-clinching win that assured him of his first NBA title (and the Golden State Warriors of their fifth in franchise history) resonate loudly with some in Golden State’s locker room.
In the locker-room following the Warriors’ title-clinching victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in June, newly crowned champion David West, with snow goggles wrapped around his neck, had a proclamation to make.
A made for an impressive two-minute video clip, one that aired nationally on NBA TV after Game 5. And it served as a symbol not only of the sacrifice exhibited by the Warriors’ Big Four of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green but of West himself.
“That was pent up something,” said Green on Monday afternoon.
A year prior to joining the Warriors in 2016, West turned down a $12 million option with the Indiana Pacers, opting instead for a 1-year, $1.4-million league minimum deal with the Spurs in hopes of winning a championship.
“It shows you how much he cared about winning. It shows why he took $12 million less and just left it on the table. Now I think we all understand,” Green said. “The way he reacted to winning a championship explains why you would say ‘I don’t want that $12 million, I’m going to take one [year] and win a championship.”
West’s journey to his first title can be described as “ring chasing,” or the notion that a veteran player will sign with a team based on its ability to win a ring. Along with the notion, comes the stigma that said player took an easy route to a title, a la Kevin Durant’s decision to sign with the Warriors in 2016 or Shaquille O’Neal’s late career signings with the Suns, Celtics, and Cavaliers, thereby cheapening the value of the title.
Green, however, sees it a different way.
“Maybe they should take notes,” he said. “He went and got what he was chasing. We’ve seen plenty of times where guys were said to be joining a team to win rings and didn’t win. And they can say what they want.”