How 'We Believe' Warriors laid groundwork: 'They’re way past believing' now

How 'We Believe' Warriors laid groundwork: 'They’re way past believing' now

OAKLAND -- Jason Richardson, Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson stepped to the podium Tuesday night to reminisce. It has been 10 years since they were part of a Warriors team that shocked the NBA.

Ten years since they inadvertently generated a movement that still resonates with Warriors fans.

We Believe.

With those two words the memories come flooding back to the Warriors fan base.

There was the 16-5 record over the final 21 games, including five consecutive wins to close out the season and slip into the eighth and final playoff spot.

The stunning upset of top-seeded Dallas in the first round.

The spectacular dunk by Baron Davis that vaporized Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.

And the birth of “Roaracle,” coined thusly for the thunderous and sustained blast of noise within Oracle Arena that postseason.

“The best memory was definitely winning in the playoffs,” Jackson said one hour before tipoff of the Warriors-Jazz rematch in the Western Conference semifinals.

“But we have bigger memories than that. Just the whole year, being with each other, growing with each other, becoming family.”

That was one of the secrets to the appeal of that team. Those Warriors were a tight-knit group of underdogs, nearly all of them on a personal crusade to make a statement to skeptics the world over. They weren’t supposed to win; coach Don Nelson actually gathered them and told them they couldn’t win.

“We were just a bunch of guys who all had something to prove in different ways,” Jackson said.

Jackson had off-court issues in Indiana, as well as being a central figure in a pivotal brawl in Detroit that become known as the “Malice at the Palace.” Davis’ wondrous talent came with a history of injury and a reputation for being high maintenance. Richardson had never won anything. Ellis was drafted out of a high school in Mississippi. Al Harrington had been with multiple teams. Adonal Foyle was a lottery pick who struggled to stay on the court.

Yet, for the briefest of moments, they changed the culture. They pulled the Warriors out of the purgatory that is 13 consecutive non-playoff seasons and put them back on the NBA map.

“Guys actually wanted to be here, whereas my first five years didn’t want to be here,” Richardson recalled. “They just wanted to get points, get numbers, get contracts and get out of town.”

In some ways that team laid the groundwork for today’s Warriors, who have posted the league’s best record three years running. Stephen Curry arrived in 2009, just as “We Believe” faded out.

How on earth did they get from there to here?

“Drafting guys like Steph, Klay (Thompson), Draymond (Green),” Richardson said. “Putting together a team that was kind of similar to us, where guys got along with each other. And then you bring in a guy like Kevin Durant, who just fit right into the system.

“That’s what’s important about winning. Guys have to be able to match. They’ve got to mix together. They’ve got to hang out outside of basketball. That’s what we did. On the road, we were at dinners with each other. We were always around each other. That’s a big part of that chemistry on the floor.”

It’s a different ownership, a different mentality and a much more ambitious mandate.

The Warriors have gone from “We Believe” to “We Belong” to NBA elite.

“They don’t believe now; they’re past that. They’re way past believing,” Jackson said. “They’re going for (championship) No. 2.

“I’m just happy that something we started, they were able to make it and become champions.”


Kevin Durant: 'Whoever did this should be fired and thrown in jail'


Kevin Durant: 'Whoever did this should be fired and thrown in jail'

There are some people out there who are still extremely bitter about Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder for the Warriors.

An eighth grade Spanish teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma issued a handout on the first day of school.

Part of it read:

DON'T BE A ... Kevin Durant
KD left the OKC Thunder last summer after falling to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Following the end of the season, he decided it was in his best interest to join the very same team that had just knocked him out of the playoffs. Don't be like KD. Don't take the easy way out. Things like cheating, plagiarizing, and copying your friends homework may not seem like a big deal now but they are building habits that can significantly hinder you later in life. Additionally, always strive to finish what you've started. Half-finished homework is unfinished homework. Don't try to turn in an assignment if you have not done what is necessary and expected.

DO BE A ... Michael Jordan
MJ! The GOAT! 6 championships, 4 MVPs. Yadda yadda. The greatest thing this man ever did? Saving the Looney Tunes from a lifetime of servitude to an alien race. Did MJ take the easy way out? Did he ever back down from a challenge? NO! Be like Mike. Learning a new language is a challenging thing and parts of this year are going to be...

And then the words get cut off.

Well, Kevin Durant got wind of this and responded on Twitter:

If anything happens to this teacher, we will let you know...

Andre Iguodala falls short in 'Best off the Bench' award


Andre Iguodala falls short in 'Best off the Bench' award

According to NBA players, Andre Iguodala is not the best sixth man in the league.

On Friday morning, Lou Williams was recognized as the "Best off the Bench" player.

At the inaugural NBA Awards Show in late June, Iguodala finished runner-up in the Sixth Man of the Year race to Rockets guard Eric Gordon.

Iguodala received 43 first-place votes, 34 second-place votes and nine third-place votes.

Gordon registered 46 first-place votes, 40 second-place votes and eight third-place votes.

Williams was a very distant third with five third-place votes, 10 second-place votes and 15 third-place votes.

He averaged 18.6 points and 3.2 assists over 58 games with the Lakers last season, while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from deep.

In 23 regular season games with the Rockets, Williams averaged 14.9 points and 2.4 assists on 38.6 percent shooting overall and just below 32 percent from 3-point territory.

Against the Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals, Williams struggled to the tune of 7.3 points per game. He shot 35 percent from the floor and below 18 percent from distance.

Iguodala played arguably his best game of the season in Game 5 of the NBA Finals -- 20 points (9 for 14 FG), four rebounds and three assists.

For the series, his +60 mark led the Warriors by a comfortable margin (Draymond Green +30, Kevin Durant +33, Steph Curry +30, Klay Thompson +22).

Iguodala was rewarded with a 3-year, $48 million contract this summer.

I doubt he cares whatsoever about falling short for this award...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller