Reflecting On a Hero's Legacy

Established 1946 | 7-time NBA Champions

The following was written by John Beaven, Warriors Executive Vice President of Ticket Sales and Services. On September 11, 2001, John's father, Alan Beaven, was aboard United Flight 93. Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks, John reflects on his father’s legacy.

“Higher. Throw it higher.”

Sports have always been an integral part of my identity. Some of my earliest memories involve me and my dad playing catch together in Central Park in New York for hours on end. An avid tennis player himself, he would bring his racket and launch balls increasingly higher into the air, and I would wobble and twirl before settling under the ball for catch after spectacular catch. Sports (usually baseball) were a constant throughout my childhood, and after my parents separated, they became the glue of the relationship with my dad. He staunchly supported my dream of pitching in the big leagues, and devoted our time together to a common pursuit of that goal even though he had never played baseball himself. His only draw to the sport was my unwavering and burning passion. He recognized what this dream meant to me and, more importantly, the gravitational pull supporting it had on our relationship. For that I am eternally grateful. And through countless hours of practice, in large part driven by his unrelenting encouragement, I came to recognize that he embodied many of the values that sports taught me. Family, character, selflessness, and working hard to achieve a goal.

On September 11, 2001, Alan Beaven was aboard United Flight 93, the fourth plane to be hijacked that day, and the only plane that spared additional casualties after the passengers attempted to take back control of the cockpit before ultimately succumbing to their fate in an empty field in Somerset, Pennsylvania. With the 20th anniversary approaching and with a huge amount of gratitude for several of my teammates at the Warriors to set things up, I was fortunate enough to travel back to Manhattan in July to visit the 9/11 Memorial at the former site of the World Trade Center. In the years after 9/11 I made several visits to western Pennsylvania and that empty field, but I had never been to what had literally and figuratively been Ground Zero. It was a powerful day full of reflection, and I am glad I got to experience such a beautiful and moving monument to the almost 3,000 individuals that lost their lives twenty years ago.

As I reflect on the passage of twenty years, I find myself evaluating my father’s legacy. He has been honored and remembered for what he and the other passengers on Flight 93 did that day, but his lasting impact will be who he was and, more importantly the values he left behind. In no small part due to the support of my father, my life has been intertwined with the ideals he embodied and that were reinforced through years of competition – trust, respect, integrity, and hard work. And in a strange twist of fate, my father’s death introduced me to the Golden State Warriors when, in the aftermath of 9/11 the team hosted our family for a day of remembrance at a game. He unknowingly opened a door to this incredible organization, which creates and provides joy for so many people and that has played a huge role in shaping me into the person I am now. For that I am eternally grateful. And lastly and above all, my father taught me the importance of unwavering support and belief in the dreams of a child. For me it was the pursuit of professional stardom. But regardless of what “it” is for my children, I will try my best to pay forward the blessing I received from my dad by wholeheartedly committing myself to their passion.

It's not what you do, it’s how you do it. My dad made the people around him better, lived his life with enthusiasm and optimism, and put family first. If we can all be so lucky as to live our lives in the same way, his legacy will live on forever.