Warriors

Sacrifice pays off: West delivers epic sermon after capturing elusive title

Sacrifice pays off: West delivers epic sermon after capturing elusive title

OAKLAND -- In the midst of a Warriors locker room reeking of champagne and sweat and euphoria stood a 6-foot-9, 260-pound preacher gripping a bottle with barely a sip of bubbly and holding a revival meeting.

David West was on fire, thunderous in his deliver, words spilling out of his mouth like hot lava tumbling down a mountainside.

“This feels better than any check I ever signed,” said the man who has made roughly $90 million over his career and, at $1.55 million this season was among the lowest-paid members of the Warriors.

This was West’s first championship moment in a 14-year career and he wanted everyone on the planet, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, to know how it felt.

He had spent the past two years sacrificing salary to pursue the elusive championship that finally came Monday night at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors put away the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

So the muscular veteran known for his steely demeanor broke character, shattering his outer coat of iron and began shouting and shouting like never before.

“We had optional shootaround,” he boomed. “Everybody was in the gym this morning. Everybody was there. Everybody working. That’s what we do. That’s what we do. That’s why we won it. Because even when Coach says ‘Get what you need,’ it’s on you to make the decision, everybody is still working. That’s what this group is about. That’s why we got to the top. Talent only takes you so far. But details and X’s and O’s and committing to one another every single day . . .”

West paused to take his first full breath in about 35 seconds, and then continued.

“We stayed out the streets. We stayed in the gym and won. That’s all it’s about. Straight up.”

West said he was “done, man,” that he had to go.

He stayed. And kept talking.

“I’ve been a part of every single step, and it’s about winning, accomplishing a goal,” he said. “We set a lofty goal for ourselves at the beginning of the year. We talked about just winning a championship. Every single day! So we had no days off. We had no option not to work. Everybody is in the weight room. Everybody is on the court. That’s what it’s about. It’s about the work. Somebody else could have been here. It’s about being a part of a special group and putting together the right type of people. And that’s what we did.”

Acknowledging he may be intoxicated, West was profoundly uninhibited. He did plenty to earn his way with the Warriors, from counseling Draymond Green to zipping adroit passes that resulted in easy passes for a variety of teammates and, here in Game 5, standing chin-to-chin with Cleveland’s big man Tristan Thompson.

West played 11 minutes and totaled 4 points, three rebounds and a blocked shot. He was plus-16 for his time on the court.

His jubilation level was plus-infinity.

Reminded of the financial sacrifice he made by playing for a veteran’s minimum salary, West quickly countered.

“But look: You can’t take it with you,” he said. “The Egyptians learned that. You can’t bury it and take the treasures with you.

So it’s about the small things in life. The accomplishments, man. It’s about winning. And we set a goal and worked every single day toward that goal and nobody can ever take that away from us. Straight up!”

For West, this clearly made it all worthwhile. He has no plans to retire, not yet, but he also has plenty of post-career options already on the table.

For now, he’s content to revel in the moment.

“We won,” West said. “We worked. You see guys with all-world talent sacrificing. You see guys that can do anything they want every single day, yet they come in the gym. Days off were in the gym. No excuses with this group. That’s what I’m most proud of.

“I know how hard these guys worked. Kevin Durant is great because he works. Draymond is great because he works. Steph is great cause he works -- not because it’s given to him. They work. STRAIGHT UP!”

Reminded that he, like fellow 14-year veteran Zaza Pachulia, might have a particularly strong appreciation for the moment, West nodded.

“We’ve been a part of this league for a long time,” he said. “We’ve been a part of bad teams, been a part of good teams that got close. But this is what it’s about. It’s about getting over the hump, getting over the hill, being the last man standing. That’s what makes the NBA worth it, all these years, 14 seasons.”

With that, West’s sermon was over. He grabbed his son and made his way out of the room, leaving behind the wet carpet and cigar smoke and taking his tent with him.

Steve Nash lashes out against Donald Trump in profanity-filled tweet

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USATI

Steve Nash lashes out against Donald Trump in profanity-filled tweet

Donald Trump spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon about the situation in Charlottesville.

He said the following:

"I think there is blame on both sides. What about the 'alt-left' that came charging at, as you say, the 'alt-right,' do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem? I think they do.

"You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now."

Shortly thereafter, Steve Nash tweeted the following:

"To defend white supremacists and then slang his shi**y as* grape juice pretty much sums the man up."

The end.

Rick Barry doubles down on the divine right of kings

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AP

Rick Barry doubles down on the divine right of kings

Rick Barry surprised nobody with his analysis of the criticism of the Trump Administration. He showed his general view on dissent five years ago at the Chris Mullin jersey retirement ceremony.

You remember that bright spot in Warrior history. New owner Joe Lacob, who was already paying for the sins of his predecessor Chris (The Hologram) Cohan and had traded the popular Monta Ellis to turn his backcourt (and his fabulous future) over to the upstart W.S. Curry, was uproariously booed as he stood on a stage at center court in Oakland.

That’s when Barry grabbed the microphone and lectured the rabble.

“C’mon people, show a little bit of class,” he said. “This is a man, that I’ve spent some time talking to, he is going to change this franchise. This is crazy. seriously. C’mon. You’re doing yourself a disservice. All the wonderful accolades being said to you, for you to treat this man, who is spending his money to do that best that he can to turn this franchise around, and I know he’s going to do it. So give him the respect he deserves.”

It is important here to keep his comments within the timeline, as neither he nor anyone else knew what would become of the Warriors three years hence. But it is also to be noted that he dismissed long-suffering customers who had endured decades of rancid basketball since he retired in 1980. They were more than entitled to vent their collective spleen.

But Barry is a man who, rightly and wrongly, believes in the divine right of authority to be treated as authority, which is why what he told USA Today sounds so much like what he told the Coliseum Arena audience that night.

“It’s a disgrace to the world, to our country, what they’re doing,” he said. “The scrutiny that he’s going under is absurd. It’s ridiculous. Politics has always been horrible and it’s even worse now than it was. What’s going on now is reprehensible.”

We now follow with the requisite caveats. He is entitled to his view, as are we all. He is also entitled to express it, as are we all. But his world view is not the issue here as much as his intolerance of people who loudly object to the powers that be by loudly objecting on the behalf of the powerful. It is very much a case of “I’m talking now to tell you to stop talking,” and less explicable, it says that in his world view, respect should automatically be granted to the powerful rather than earned. And when it comes to being a president, or even an NBA owner, it has to be re-earned constantly.

Lacob has managed to do so, a remarkable effort by any metric. Trump is well on his way to failing completely, but that remains an open debate.

Either way, Rick Barry is as Rick Barry has been, and as we suspect he will always be – deferential to the powerful, dismissive of most of everyone else. It’s not a course for the timid, and certainly not for those who wish to, well, be respected.