(Editor’s Note: Today’s article continues our 2017 NBA Playoffs basketball coverage called 40 Nights of Hate, as the next two months of our lives will be devoted to the greatest postseason basketball tournament known to mankind. Some of our arguments will be rational, many others will be irrational. To hate is to love, as the basketball gods toy with our lives like James Harden does oafish 7-footers on switched pick-and-rolls. Enjoy our 40 Nights of Hate coverage, or despise it. Either is acceptable.)
Few things in basketball gave me more joy than watching the rise of the Golden State Warriors. Witnessing the boundary-pushing feats of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of the sharpshooting Warriors, along with the defensive wizardry of Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut, filled my heart. I couldn’t have been happier for the team winning a title and the Bay Area fans who had always provided a wondrous home court advantage.
Then the Warriors kept on winning, and everything changed. It became somewhat annoying watching Golden State punk everyone night in and night out, not because of how the Warriors played, but with how much bravado the players displayed while emphatically telling the world they were not, in fact, trying to show up opponents. Of course they were, but that’s not what sucked the joy out of the Warriors. It was their fans — those lovable die-hards who helped propel the Baron Davis-led Dubs to an upset over the heavily-favored Mavs.
Once the Warriors set out on their record-setting 2015-16 NBA season, the fans kept growing louder and bolder and more assured that anyone who may utter even a mildly critical comment about the squad were haters who knew nothing of basketball. It made what happened in the 2016 NBA Finals so gratifying. Not only did the Warriors lose, but they lost after building a 3-1 lead, finally quieting the outlandish “NO ONE IS BETTER THAN US” identity that the previously lovable Golden State fans took on.
Or so we thought. Because then the Warriors signed Kevin Durant, and Warriors fans became so, so much worse. So bad that, yes, Golden State Warriors fans have become the privileged, childish, obnoxious clones of Boston sports fans — well, minus the racism. This season, as the NBA yawned through its regular season, Warriors fans couldn’t stop themselves.
What do I mean? Tell a Warriors fan that Kawhi Leonard — you know, the two-time defending NBA Defensive Player of Year — should win DPOY again. Then count to three and wait for the inevitable: “DRAYMOND GREEN IS THE BEST DEFENDER IN THE NBA AND DPOY, DON’T @ ME” to come. Draymond is great, no doubt. If Leonard didn’t exist, he’d win DPOY every year. But Kawhi does exist. And never mind that Draymond has another elite defender in Iguodala and a very solid Klay Thompson who can give Draymond not only possessions off on the opposition’s best players, but entire games. Meanwhile, Kawhi guards the opposition’s best night in and night out — and forces all of them to work way harder than they do on any night vs. a team not named the Spurs. Hell, we all saw what the San Antonio defense looked like in Game 1 against the Warriors sans Kawhi. If you didn’t, here’s a hint: Not good.
Then there is the sudden hatred of Russell Westbrook. Take our very own Kyle Madson, the resident annoying Warriors fan we all love. In Kyle’s time at TSFJ, I had never seen him trash Russell Westbrook. Then, all the sudden KD ends up in the Bay Area and suddenly, Russ — you know, the guy who HELPED KEVIN DURANT WIN AN MVP AND GET TO AN NBA FINALS — was a selfish asshole who cared more about stats than winning. Never mind the fact that the Thunder needed every bit of Russ’s exploits just to get to the postseason — you know, because Durant decided to leave for the very team he and Russ blew a 3-1 lead against. No, he was selfish because Durant didn’t like playing with him. Was KD selfish? Of course not. How could abandoning your team for the enemy be construed as selfish in any way, shape or form? It can’t if you’re a Warriors fan; the players who decided to commit to his former franchise are the selfish ones, duh!
Listen, we get it. Your team is good, even historically great at times. When they’re out there moving the ball and draining threes and killing the opposition thanks to a team that has more bench players who would star elsewhere than the Philadelphia 76ers have had guys who should even be NBA players in the past half-decade, it’s a joy to watch. Well, it’s a joy so long as you stay off Twitter, where you’re sure to find another Warriors fan trying to tell you that Draymond Green — he of the regular groin kicks and flagrant fouls — isn’t dirty like Kelly Olynyk, just misunderstood.
You can be a die-hard fan with a really good team and not be absurdly biased and irrational. It’s possible. I promise you, it is. Well, I assume it is. I’m a Philadelphia fan, so I wouldn’t really know.
What I do know is to those of us who don’t love the Dubs, Golden State Warriors fans have become just as unbearable as Boston fans. You know, minus the racism. So you have that going for you.