At some point, I will continue my evaluation of my Master’s Degree education. But because of the resolution of a sporting event that occurred this week, I feel the need to comment. On Thursday night, my Golden State Warriors won their 4th NBA Championship in 8 years. This is the 5th of my lifetime and 7th total for the franchise. This championship came as a complete surprise. But there are so many small details to discuss involving this latest championship among my favorite professional sports teams.
First, a rundown of some basic statistics and history. The Golden State Warriors have now won 7 NBA Titles. This places them into 3rd place all-time behind the 1st place tie of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers who each have 17 NBA Titles. The Warriors prevented the Celtics from getting the elusive 18th which would have placed them back into first place all-time (This is also the 2nd time that the Celtics have failed at getting the 18th Championship. They lost in Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2010 against the Lakers). This latest championship snapped a 3rd place tie with the Chicago Bulls who have 6 NBA Titles. In fifth place is the San Antonio Spurs with 5. No other team has more than 3. Before I was born, the Philadelphia Warriors won championships in 1947 and 1956 (Losing the NBA Finals in 1948). They moved to San Francisco in 1962 and preceded to make the NBA Finals two more times (1964 & 1967) losing to the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers respectively. When I was nine months old, Rick Barry finally led the Golden State Warriors to their first title in the Bay Area sweeping the Washington Bullets in 1975. After 1977 (And one year away from my first sports memories), the Warriors began their decline. For most of my life as a Warriors fan, I have had very little to cheer. During an eight year stretch in the late 1980s to early 1990s, the Warriors would make the playoffs five out of eight years and win as a lower seed in the 1st round of the playoffs three times before getting knocked out in the Conference Semifinals (1987, 1989, 1991). After 1994, the Warriors would not see the playoffs again until the 2007 season when they slid into the playoffs and upset the top seeded San Antonio Spurs in the 1st Round before getting knocked out in the Conference semis again. The first Stephon Curry Warrior team to make the playoffs did not occur until the 2013 season. So from 1978-2012, a period of 35 seasons, the Warriors made six playoff appearances and never got past the 2nd round of the playoffs. This all changed when Stephon Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were drafted by the Warriors.
The Warriors only got above a 5 seed in the playoffs once in my lifetime up to this point. Counting 2013, the Warriors playoff series wins were as a 5 seed, a 6 seed, twice as a 7, and once as an 8. Then, 2015 happened. You always remember the first championship. Especially one that you have been waiting for 40 years to witness. Of the four that the Warriors have won during this era, this is still my favorite championship. It is like popping your virginity with your first girlfriend. It is the first step into becoming a mature man. After having the best record in NBA history in 2016, the Warriors shockingly looked exhausted against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals as Lebron James won his 3rd title that year and the first for the city of Cleveland since 1964. As good as the Warriors were, they signed Kevin Durant that off-season. This signing definitely was a situation where the rich get richer. The Warriors were stacked and proved it in the NBA Finals by winning the next two championships in 2017 and 2018. As fun as these titles were to experience, they still did not feel as significant as the initial championship in 2015. Because the Warriors evolved into a Super Team with the Durant trade; these championships did not feel as special, but they still count all the same. Both these titles felt dirty and almost unfair to talk about. Like having a professional football team play a bunch of high school all-stars in a competition. The slaughter would be difficult to watch. The 2019 season would be the final year of the Golden State Warriors run (At least that is what the media was telling us). Curry was banged up, Klay Thompson blew out his knee, an injury that he did not recover from until early 2022, and Durant went down with an Achilles injury during the NBA Finals. A team that had won five consecutive Western Conference championships had finally reached its zenith as injuries tore the team apart on its way to losing the 2019 NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors. The next two years were abysmal. In the shortened 2020 season, the Warriors had the worst record. In 2021, they qualified for the play-in game only to lose to Memphis. As the team got healthy, younger, and picked up a few key contributors like Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, the 2022 Warriors team felt completely different. As the season wore on and Phoenix dominated the West, it did not feel like a return to the championship podium would occur. But on Thursday night, June 16th, the Warriors did the improbable and won that 4th championship of this era. Now, they can officially be called a dynasty. This is the first time (Other than the MLS L.A. Galaxy which also won 3 titles in 4 years in the early 2010s) that one of my favorite teams can be classified as a dynasty. With all the years of suffering that professional sports have given me, I never thought this experience would ever occur with one of my favorite teams. And unlike the American dynasties of the Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas (And their minions) who have been destroying the United States for the past 40 years, I hope this dynasty never comes to an end. This 2022 title still did not feel as significant as the 2015 one but it is definitely my second favorite. A team that went through some dark times has shown a championship pedigree and persistence that I never knew it possessed.
I am satisfied if this group of players never wins another NBA Title. They have already given me so much to be thankful for. But if they happen to repeat in 2023, the Warriors will join the Celtics (11 titles in 13 seasons including 8 straight which will never be matched), Bulls (6 titles in 8 seasons), and the Lakers (5 titles in 9 seasons) as one of the most memorable teams in NBA History (NOTE: The San Antonio Spurs won their 5 titles over a 15-year timeframe). That repeat will also be important to me personally as it will equal the Showtime Lakers in the number of championships and the duration to achieve them. Kobe Bryant’s Lakers won 5 championships over an 11-season arc from 2000-2010. I never have to listen to the bullshit from L.A. Lakers fans ever again.
Finally, the Warriors caused me to reach an important milestone with my professional sports teams. If we do not count Major League Soccer as one of the main professional sports (I do see it as the 5th sport), then I have reached double digit championships with my sports teams in the four ‘recognized’ popular sports leagues. Two of my favorite teams won championships before I was born, the 1945 Cleveland Rams and the 1951 Los Angeles Rams. The Philadelphia Warriors also accomplished two titles in 1947 and 1956 (As mentioned above). Even though I was an infant baby and alive, the 1975 Golden State Warriors title is not in my memory bank due to my young age. I only recognized this championship later after watching VHS Videos of the 1975 NBA Finals in the 1990s. But for championships I can mentally remember (1978 to the present day), the Warriors have now gotten me my 10th one as a fan and 11th one since my birth. In Order these championships are:
Golden State Warriors: 1975 (9-month-old ExpertofSome was more concerned about his poop-filled diapers than Rick Barry)
St. Louis Rams: 1999
Anaheim Angels: 2002
Anaheim Ducks: 2007 (And still the city of Anaheim and Orange County’s only two titles)
Los Angeles Kings: 2012
Los Angeles Kings: Again in 2014
Golden State Warriors: 2015
Golden State Warriors: 2017
Golden State Warriors: 2018
Los Angeles Rams: 2021
Golden State Warriors: 2022
If I throw in the L.A. Galaxy who has more championships in the MLS than any other franchise, those Cup years were 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, and 2014 bringing my memory bank total to 15 and my lifetime total to 16. Three Galaxy championships overlap during the same years as the Angels only title and both of the Los Angeles Kings titles.
But if you only count the four main sports, this is the first time in my life that two of my favorite sports teams will be defending their championships at the same time. The year of the title defense is always the most enjoyable as a sports fan. It is one year of pure ecstasy until another team takes it away from them at the end of the season (If they don’t repeat as champions and, in my case, only the 2017-2018 Warriors have repeated making this a likely reality).
So let me enjoy my ecstasy for a little bit longer. My beloved Rams won the Super Bowl only four short months ago and now I am adding an NBA Title from my Warriors. Could the 2022 San Diego Padres be far behind? Fingers crossed. Until next time!
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