Lacob, Guber holding true to word three years later

Highlights: Warriors score early and often, cruise past Detroit

Lacob, Guber holding true to word three years later
November 13, 2013, 12:45 pm
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I did believe that we had a plan that could and would work. I said that we were really going to change the culture and we were going to be relentless in pursuing everything, that this was a passion for us.
Joe Lacob

He vowed to lift the weight of failure, to eradicate the despair that had become routine and finally, finally, finally, consistently deliver a product worthy of fans grown weary of loving a Warriors team that rarely loved them back.

Joe Lacob entered the room promising a bigger and better and brighter future. Determined to be more passionately engaged than his predecessor, the ever-fading presence that was Chris Cohan, Lacob would be so intent on improvement that the usual barriers to Warriors success – ego, spite, politics and financials – would not get in his way.

The man is thus far holding true to his word. In the three years since Lacob and co-owner Peter Guber assumed ownership, the Warriors have not only rejoined the NBA but also become one of its most attractive and entertaining properties.

[RELATED: Lacob says hiring Jackson, West changed mentality]

The Warriors definitely are playoff caliber, progressing toward contender status, and composed by all appearances of quality citizens. They have a charismatic coach, Mark Jackson. They have a clever and creative general manager, Bob Myers. They have an enchanted fan base, providing impressive season ticket numbers.

Lacob and Guber even found a way to persuade Jerry West, The Logo, so long identified as a member of the Lakers family, to bring his ideas and presence and credibility to a franchise in need of all three.

In three years, Lacob and Co. either have or are on a visible path to obtain everything they could want – except, of course, the fabulous new waterfront arena in San Francisco.

[RELATED: Warriors reveal third version of waterfront arena

To be sure, Lacob remains totally committed to building on the piers a few hundred feet south of where the Bay Bridge touches down in San Francisco. I've seen the illustrations, previous and updated as recently as this week. Each is a fantasy to behold, downright arresting, straight out of an architect's dream.

If the arena ever lands on that spot, it will be the envy of all NBA and NHL teams, as well as any city that currently has what it considers a gorgeous arena. This would be palatial, nothing short of extravagant.

Lacob and Guber, who set a goal of moving into the new place in 2017, seem unconcerned about cost. There are, however, many obstacles beyond that. Their vision could be wrecked by San Francisco's fractured politics or the wishes of the immediate community or even the city's notoriously fickle voters.

The arena project has, as time lurches forward, firmly established itself as the mother lode in the distance, surely there but for now invisible to the naked eye.

In the meantime, Lacob's approval ratings among the fan base continue to grow, the natural result of peddling a popular product. Memories of that March 2011 night when he was the target of gale-force boos at Oracle have receded at roughly the same rate as the team's fortunes have risen.


Bay Area fans know what it's like to watch a new owner enter the building. With six teams in the Big Four of American sport – NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL – we've seen dozens of owners come and go over the past half century. Some were loved, some were hated and others were merely tolerated. We've experienced all types.

Lacob is making a remarkable effort to enter the first group, which surely includes Eddie DeBartolo and Walter Haas.

The 49ers were never more celebrated than they were under Eddie D, the A's never more successful than they were under Haas. Both rebuilt brands. Both sought, if not demanded, excellence. Both were fans. Both gave what fan bases most want from an owner, which is championship-level teams even if means slowing the growth of their personal fortunes.

This is the Bay Area, after all. We, as Mike Singletary once bellowed during a wall-rattling rant, want winners.

Lacob and Guber are on that path. They have not been perfect, but they entered the building with a plan and they are following through. They have rebuilt a broken brand. They are spending money. They've done their work with such force and energy, and in such rapid fashion, that it's no longer insane to imagine an NBA title at some point in the future.

Given what we once thought of the Warriors, with good reason, for a very long time, how can that not be impressive?

Lacob and Guber don't have everything they want. They may never have everything they want. They are willing to acknowledge that, conceding there is a possibility they will have to adjust their arena plan.

But not getting everything they want, when they want it, has not stopped them from delivering a product their fans can enjoy and believe in.

Shouldn't that be the primary goal of an owner?

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