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|Golden State Warriors|
San Francisco Warriors
Golden State Warriors
|Arena||The Arena in Oakland|
|Team Colors||Midnight blue, California yellow, Golden Gate orange, and Sky blue|
|Head Coach||Mike Montgomery|
|Championships||BAA: 1 (1947)|
NBA:2 (1956, 1975)
|Conference Titles||6 (1947, 1948, 1956, 1964, 1967, 1975)|
|Division Titles||7 (1948, 1951, 1956, 1964, 1967, 1975, 1976)|
The Golden State Warriors are a National Basketball Association team based in Oakland, California. "Golden State" is the nickname of the state of California, derived from the 1849 Gold Rush. The Warriors are the only major professional basketball franchise to exclude the legal name of their city or state from the team's name.
The Philadelphia Warriors were a charter member of the Basketball Association of America, winning the championship in the league's inaugural 1946-1947 season by defeating the Chicago Stags, four games to one. (The BAA became the National Basketball Association in 1949.)
The team was founded by Eddie Gottlieb, the long-time promoter of the Philadelphia Sphas (South Philadelphia Hebrew Association), one of the mainstays of the original American Basketball League. Gottlieb retained ownership of the ABL Sphas until that league disbanded in 1955. The Warriors are one of only three original BAA/NBA teams still in existence, the others being the Boston Celtics and New York Knickerbockers.
The Warriors won their only other championship as a Philadelphia team in the 1955-1956 season, defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons four games to one. In 1959, the team signed their 216-cm tall (7'1") draft pick Wilt Chamberlain. Known as "Wilt the Stilt," Chamberlain quickly began shattering NBA scoring records and changed the style of play forever. On March 2, 1962, in a Warrior "home" game played in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Chamberlain scored 100 points against the Knickerbockers, a single-game record that may never be broken.
In 1962, the team moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and became the San Francisco Warriors, playing most of their home games at the Cow Palace (actually located in neighboring Daly City), though occasionally playing home games in nearby cities such as Oakland and San Jose. The Warriors won the 1963-1964 Western Division crown, losing the NBA championship series to the Boston Celtics, four games to one.
In 1965, the Warriors drafted Rick Barry in the first round. Barry was named NBA Rookie of the Year in his first season, then led the Warriors to the NBA finals in the 1966-1967 season, where the team lost (four games to two) to the team that replaced the Warriors in the City of Brotherly Love, the Philadelphia 76ers. Angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive awards he felt he was due, Barry sat out the 1967-1968 season, joining the Oakland Oaks of the rival American Basketball Association the following year. After several seasons in the ABA, Barry rejoined the Warriors in 1972.
With the opening of the Oakland Coliseum Arena in 1966, the Warriors began scheduling increasing numbers of home games at that venue. The 1970-1971 season would be the team's last as the San Francisco Warriors. They changed their name to the Golden State Warriors for the 1971-1972 season, playing almost all home games in Oakland. Six "home" games were played in San Diego during that season but more significantly, none were played in San Francisco or Daly City.
As the Golden State Warriors, the franchise has only won one NBA championship, in 1974-1975. In what many consider the biggest upset in the history of the NBA, the Warriors defeated the heavily-favored Washington Bullets in a four-game sweep. That team was coached by former Warrior Al Attles, and led on the court by Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes, and Phil Smith. So little was felt of the team's chances in the playoffs, even by their home fans, that the Coliseum Arena scheduled other events during the dates of the NBA playoffs. As a result, the home games of the Warriors' only West Coast championship were played not in Oakland but at the Cow Palace in Daly City.
The team had another successful string of wins in the late 80s/early 90s with the high scoring trio of point guard Tim Hardaway, guard Mitch Richmond, and forward Chris Mullin (collectively known as "Run T-M-C"). However, with then coach Don Nelson wishing to go with a bigger lineup, he made a trade that not only broke up the RUN T-M-C core by sending Richmond to the Sacramento Kings for draft-day bust Billy Owens, but also sent the Warriors into a tailspin as an organization. In the eleven years since, the Warriors have never made the playoffs, a streak which continues to this day. Oft-criticized GM Garry St. Jean (whom Warriors fans frequently referred to as "the worst GM in professional sports") advocated a team philosophy centered around experienced veterans and a college star (Owens), but in reality he merely brought in several players, such as Mark Price, Terry Cummings, John Starks, and Mookie Blaylock, who were well past their primes. He also drafted several flops, like Todd Fuller (while Kobe Bryant was still available), Chris Porter, and Vonteego Cummings. St. Jean did, however, draft several players who are the core of the most recent Warriors squad, including 2-time NBA slam dunk champion Jason Richardson (from Michigan State), Duke swingman Mike Dunleavy, Jr., and Troy Murphy (from Notre Dame). With rising star Antawn Jamison leading the team, the Warriors seemed like a team on the rise, but a string of injuries kept them from making an impact in the suddenly ultra-competitive Western Conference. In an effort to rebuild the team on the fly, St. Jean committed money to players like Jason Caffey and Chris Mills, but as a result was unable to re-sign up-and-coming star Gilbert Arenas, despite the fact that Arenas wanted to stay in Golden State. As a result, St. Jean was fired as GM of the Warriors in 2004.
After spending two years in the Warriors front office as a special assistant, Chris Mullin succeeded St. Jean and assumed the title of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. Among his first moves were the hiring of three former teammates to help run the organization: Mitch Richmond (special assistant), Mario Elie (assistant coach) and Rod Higgins (General Manager). He is building the team around Richardson, Dunleavy, and Murphy--complementing them with experience in Derek Fisher, a free agent signed by Golden State after playing a key role on three championship Lakers squads, and Calbert Cheaney, a playoff-tested sharpshooter. At the 2005 trading deadline, he further added to the team by bringing in the first superstar the Warriors have had since Mullin himself, Baron Davis.
As of 2005, the Warriors have made a great start. For the first time since 1994, the Warriors enter January of 2006 with a winning percentage over .500. Warriors fans hope that 2005-2006 will finally be the season that the team makes the playoffs. The team's backcourt has never played better as both Davis and Richardson lead the team in scoring. In addition, the team is getting a boost from the younger guys including Ike Diogu, who is proving himself as the valuable low-post scorer the Warriors need, Chris Taft who is trying to prove his critics wrong and is making the most of his minutes, and Monta Ellis. With the struggles of some perennial playoff teams such as the Rockets, Kings, Jazz, and Nuggets, the Warriors hope that their window of opportunity is opened.
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