Boo-birds teach Lacob valuable, but brutal, ownership lesson

Boo-birds teach Lacob valuable, but brutal, ownership lesson
March 20, 2012, 5:30 am
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Now maybe Joe Lacob gets the picture. Now maybe he understands that the history of franchise doesnt get sliced up into portions depending on the identity of the owner.Lacob was gobsmacked by a wall of booing while introducing Chris Mullin on his number retirement Monday night. He had brought Mullin back from Chris Cohans administrative exile and wanted his contributions to the franchise memorialized, and he thought that correcting one on Cohans more petty errors made him bulletproof.Now he knows better. Now he gets the picture. Nobody escapes while the team is not winning. Nobody gets a pass for good intentions. Six playoff appearances in 36 years, and one in 18, shout far louder than a public relations gesture triggered by a generous spirit.This wasnt just Monta Ellis-trade booing either. This was all of it, unleashed by a fan base that knows how badly it has been taken advantage of over the years. This was the promise of a playoff position meeting the reality of being 13th in the West and looking at a future that remains tantalizingly distant.This is about the same old meal, delivered by a new waiter. Lacob has to know that doesnt work. And he knows now for sure.But he should have known it before this. He should have known it if anyone had told him about the 2000 All-Star Game, when Cohan, his own child by his side, was even more crushingly booed in the third quarter intermission while he was trying to present an award to Michael Jordan.Let me repeat that: With his son next to him. While giving an award to Michael Jordan.In other words, there was precedent for Monday, and the ensuing 12 years have been mostly just as rough as the previous 23.And Lacob can't to have hurt feelings about this, because the rules are different for those who represent three and a half decades of irrelevance with a touch of nonsense on the side. He did not build it, but they keep coming, and theyre pissed about it.Hes only been around for two years, true, but one of them is the current one, shortened by a lockout he helped support, and neither has been good. Fans who were thankful he wasnt Cohan have been given little evidence to convince them that the Cohan years arent still among them, save small gestures like the Mullin ceremony.And despite the best efforts of Mullin and Rick Barry to stem the tide (Mullin more successful at it than Barry, to be frank), those fans remain angry at all the money they have thrown, because for fans, every season is not different. When you have failed, all the seasons are the same, and they build up pressure until the valves break.Now Lacob has a choice to make, one that requires a level of humility. He can save face, or at least some of it, by taking this moment and touring the stands for the next few games, explaining to any and all that undoing the rancid past is more like turning an ocean liner than backing out of a driveway. He has to let the fans vent in smaller groups, or even individually.And his only response can be this:I know. I know. We havent gotten it right yet. We got handed a bad situation, but either we misjudged how bad it is or we havent gotten it all figured out yet. I shouldnt have promised you a playoff, and thats on me. Youre entitled to more proof than this, and I get how pissed you are about this.In fact, dont be patient with us. We dont deserve your patience. We dont have the right to it, and we wont until we have given you what you really want a team that can make you proud of its history. Im glad you booed me instead of Chris Mullin, because he is blameless. And you should keep booing me, and Peter Guber, and all of us, until you stop having to wait for what everybody else gets more often than weve given it to you.In other words, he has to take it, and keep taking it, until the Warriors stop giving its customers the same old night out.In the meantime, he has to learn that around here, the sins of the owners do not end when the old owner leaves. They go on and on until something better comes along.Thats the lesson. This was a message to Lacob that things are worse than he thought with the greatest fans in the NBA. And he can never be surprised by it again.