I don't remember a lot about the Indians-A's game at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland on May 11, 2007. I just remember that it was freezing and I was there in section 212 where my parents had season tickets. I also remember that it was hard to focus on the game given that Baron Davis and the Warriors were fighting for their playoff lives next door at Oracle Arena.
It was the height of the 'We Believe' era of Warriors basketball and the entire Bay Area was buzzing. The historically abysmal Warriors not only made the playoffs, but they upset the 67-win Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Now they were down 2-0 in the second round to the Utah Jazz and had dropped an overtime contest in Game 2. If the Warriors had any chance to advance they had to win Game 3.
Following games remotely and without TV was nearly impossible in the days before smartphones and push notifications. We were forced to rely on Game 3 highlights shown on the A's video board.
Typically the video board would list three different things they could show highlights of, but that night they didn't give us a choice. They knew people wanted to see the Warriors.
The baseball game was pretty dull. It was a typical, cold, overcast Oakland night and there wasn't a lot to get excited about. It was tied 1-1 until the A's jumped on C.C. Sabathia for five runs in the seventh. I had to look that up because I didn't remember it whatsoever.
What I do remember is when the video board lit up with a Warriors update. Here's what we saw:
The Coliseum erupted. I was cheering and high-fiving strangers sitting anywhere near my seat and anywhere near the spot down the row I sprinted to after they first showed the dunk. Then they showed it again. And again. And again. We saw that replay through the entire inning break. Every angle. Every reaction shot. And every time it was like seeing it for the first time.
C.C. Sabathia is a Bay Area kid, and I can't confirm, but I think I saw him ghost ride an '88 Cutlass on 24s across the outfield.
Language scholars often agree that this is the night the word "lit" entered the lexicon as a synonym for "fun" or "awesome."
The A's went on to win their game 8-2, but that didn't matter. The Warriors lambasted the Jazz 125-105 and Baron Davis threw down the nastiest playoff dunk of all-time. The We Believe Warriors had life.
“I was in my dorm in college. It was the last day before everyone had to be moved out so the whole hall was just me and a few friends. We had a shit load of beer left over from the year and drank all of that shit during the game. When Boom Dizzle threw down that dunk, our building exploded. Like, it no longer exists. Top-3 nights of my life.
“We had a few dudes from the Bay in the building. This happened around the peak of the hyphy era. After the dunk, the camera went to Adonal Foyle, who had the meanest thizz face and the Bay Area dudes lost their f—ing minds lmfao.”
It's extremely important to note Mike Tirico's phenomenal call as well. It's easy to talk too much in a moment like this, but he gave his pure, unfiltered reaction with "OHHHHHHHHH MANNNNNN!!!!" Then he let the electricity of crowd carry the broadcast until he indicated the timeout with four perfect words for the moment: "Timeout, in Baron's house."
The Warriors got cleaned up by the Jazz in a tidy five games, but that's totally irrelevant in the scope of NBA history. Baron Davis was at the center of basketball's revival in the Bay Area. He was the heart and soul of the We Believe Warriors that put the typically putrid franchise back on the sports map. He also offered the most memorable moment from this series despite Utah winning in five games.
The We Believe Warriors may be gone, but this dunk is still electrifying 10 years later.
Experiment 626. Coffee drinker and cat enthusiast. Pro-avocado. Anti-sac bunt. Habitual bat flipper. Alex Smith apologist. Yoenis Cespedes fanboy.