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Warriors fans celebrate, with expectations of more to come
Linda Wang | Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. — Even from six rows back, 9- and 10-year-old brothers William and Rizal Cahambing were not going to miss a chance to see their favorite Golden State Warriors player, Stephen Curry, as he rode atop a double-decker bus during Thursday’s parade to celebrate the team’s latest championship.
The brothers took turns climbing on top of a water cooler to see over the crowd and jumped with delight as Curry’s bus went by.
With talk of the team being an NBA power for years to come, the brothers and other kids may grow up in an era of Warriors dominance that could make this year’s celebration a regular occurrence – although not one that takes place in Oakland much longer.
The Warriors are headed to San Francisco, where they broke ground this year on a new arena slated to open in 2019.
Oakland is also losing one of its other beloved teams, the Raiders, to Las Vegas, and the city is still reeling from a police scandal and mourning a deadly warehouse fire.
So Thursday was a rare chance for the city to celebrate.
“Curry, look over here,” William screamed as the two-time NBA champion lifted up the championship trophy in his direction.
William and Rizal’s father, Ray Cahambing, said it was unfortunate Oakland was losing the Warriors, “but the diehard fans” would make the trip across the Bay to San Francisco to see the team.
Warriors players on buses passed Cahambing and his family twirling T-shirts over their heads and waving to the crowd as blue and yellow confetti rained down.
Curry rode with his wife and kids beside him. He got off his bus and hopped and shouted as he gave high fives to the crowd. NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant rode on a different bus with his mom.
“I was expecting more,” coach Steve Kerr told KTVU-TV, joking about the size of the crowd.
Kerr said he was proud that the team “came back from the heartbreak of last year.”
The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals last year and lost the title to the Cleveland Cavaliers after posting the best regular-season record in NBA history.
“I remember exactly where I was this time last year, and it wasn’t a great feeling,” Curry told the crowd at a rally after the parade. “But everything that we went through as a team, individually, as an organization makes this day so much sweeter.”
The Warriors went 15-1 in this year’s postseason, with sweeps in the first three rounds before beating LeBron James and the Cavaliers in five games in the Finals.
“We’ve overcome a lot of doubts,” said Tulio Zelada, 28, a San Francisco resident who attended the parade. He described himself as a Warriors fan since elementary school.
The parade wound through downtown Oakland before the rally near Lake Merritt.
Warriors forward Draymond Green appeared to take some shots at the Cavs.
Green wore a T-shirt that read, “Quickie,” with the “Q” styled to mimic the logo on the Cavs’ Quicken Loans Arena, which is referred to as The Q. Green told NBC Bay Area that the shirt reflected the Warriors’ quick win over the Cavaliers.
At the rally, Green mocked James’ contention that James had never played for a super team. Green said James had started the super team concept.
James teamed up with All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat to win his first championship in 2012. The Warriors have been dubbed a super team with the addition of Durant.
The impending loss of the Warriors to San Francisco was on the minds of some fans who came out to cheer, though many threw the word “dynasty” around and expected one more championship parade in Oakland next year.
“Oakland represents all of us,” Kerr told KTVU. “You’ve got people of every race, color, religion, creed, whatever, and everybody’s just coming together and loving this team.”
Sheldon Glasgow, who has been living in Oakland for 10 years, said he wasn’t angry the Warriors were moving.
“It’s still in the Bay,” he said. “No matter where they go, it’s still in the Golden State.”