Bandwagon fans get a bad rap. Here at The Standard, we’ve got a cadre of lifelong Golden State Warriors fans, and—don’t get us wrong—we understand the impulse to look down our noses at all the Johnny-come-latelies.
But the 2022 Dubs are charging like a runaway Hyde Street cable car, and from where we’re standing, you’ve got two options: Either get out of the way or pile on to ride this thing to the very end.
Sure you might not be as gold blooded as those of us who spent our adolescence falling asleep beneath a Chris Webber poster; you might not have played exclusively as Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway every time you fired up NBA Jam. But hey… we’re not here to gatekeep.
Here’s a counterfactual: Is it bandwagoning to join the best team in the league and cement a dynasty that includes three straight finals appearences and two NBA championships? (This is a Kevin Durant reference for those who don’t follow the NBA and this is Kevin Durant for those who know absolutely nothing about basketball).
For the first time in three years, the Warriors have a chance to win it all—if they can get past the Dallas Mavericks, that is. As part of the Standard’s mission to help you better Know Your City, we’ve pulled together a starter pack geared toward San Franciscans who haven’t been following along. Here’s what you need to know about the Warriors, and their playoff run, before they hit the court.
Where you can go to watch the Warriors vs. the Mavericks.
On TV and Streaming: TNT
If it’s camaraderie you seek, head to Thrive City, the esplanade outside the arena, to watch the game on a 3,108 square foot screen. You could also head to a local bar, pub or community space. We put together a list of places where you can catch the games over drinks and food.
A cheat sheet for the most important people in uniform and on the sidelines.
We need to start here, because if you don’t know who Steph Curry is, you might actually be beyond our help. Wardell Stephen Curry is the best shooter in professional basketball history. He’s appeared in tons of commercials, is basically the face of Under Armour and has a local approval rating potentially higher than the Golden Gate Bridge. He’s Steph, nuff said.
Perhaps the heart and soul of the Warriors team and definitely their defense, Green is known for his versatility on the court, his competitive spirit and his inability to bite his tongue. Case in point: his new podcast.
The other member of the Splash Brothers backcourt (along with Curry), Thompson is back in the Warriors’ starting lineup after two full seasons rehabbing from injury and is back in the team’s starting lineup. He’s known to commute to games and practices from the East Bay in a boat or kayak.
The team’s breakout star for the season, Poole has developed an all around game that includes shooting, driving to the rim and high level playmaking (passing) abilities.
Kerr is probably most famous for bailing out Michael Jordan’s career, according to his own account, in the 1997 NBA Finals. Though he averaged just six points per game in his playing career, Kerr is one of the winningest people in basketball history, collecting five championships as a player and three as a coach of the Warriors.
Whether they’re sitting courtside or peeking out from a luxury box, you’ll want to have something substantive to say about these personalities.
It’s no surprise that the godfather of the Bay Area hyphy movement is also a fixture of the front row of Warriors home games, generally rocking the kind of ice that would chill a polar bear. E-40—also known as Earl Stevens, Charlie Hustle, 40 Fonzarelli and E-Pheezy—has even remixed his own hit song “Choices” to cheer on his favorite team.
Yes the Mayor of Flavortown himself is a fan, and a major one at that. The uninitiated may not know Fieri’s deep roots in Northern California. Fieri grew up in Humboldt County (which may help explain why he became such a munchies savant) and opened his first restaurants in the North Bay. He still lives in Santa Rosa with his family and his shock of blonde hair can regularly been seen on the Warriors’ sideline.
Demonstrate you aren’t a noob by showing proper respect for your elders.
Perhaps the NBA’s most famous stoner, Don Nelson—known by his nickname Nelly—did two tours as the Warriors’ head coach, the first between 1988 and 1995 where he implemented his “Nelly-ball” style of play, a precursor to the Warriors current run-and-gun tactics. His second stint is notable for the “We Believe” Warriors run where the team snuck into the playoffs for the first time in 13 years as the lowest seeded Western Conference team and knocked off the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks.
Barry is known for his prolific scoring ability, shooting free throws “granny shot style” and kind of being a jerk. But other than that he was a hall of fame small forward who helped lead the Warriors to their last NBA Championship in 1975 prior the arrival of Steph Curry.
The man, the myth, the stilt. Chamberlain is most famous for scoring 100 points in a single game, having a 48 inch vertical jump and other—more salacious—off the-court activities.
Don’t worry if you can’t chop it up like a primetime sportscaster. Even the most knowledgeable fans pepper their gameday analyses with clichés. The key is to speak with confidence.
When in doubt, pull out the puns, enthusiastically state the obvious or just take a sip of beer then nod knowingly.
And of course, taking a shot at the opposing team is always a safe bet.
Finally, beware these bandwagoner red flags, which could cause some to see you as a fair-weather fan:
Ride or die fans know how they are going to ride to the game.
If you already have tickets to the game, you don’t have to pay the Muni fare to get there. The KT Line, 78X, 15 and 22 are popular routes to get to the stadium from all over the city. Staying out late? You can take the 91 3rd Street/19th Avenue Owl, which runs every 30 minutes from midnight to 5 a.m.
From Embarcadero Station, you can take the KT Line.
From the 16th St. Station in the Mission, take the 78X to Chase Center.
Don't forget: BART closes at midnight!
The safest way to bike to the Chase Center is along the Embarcadero and its extension on Terry A Francois Blvd., which now has protected bike lanes. Then, you can park your bike up to an hour before the event at the free bike valet along 16th St. at the south end of the stadium, which has room for 300 bikes plus overflow racks. There are also several Bay Wheels stations within a short walking distance of the stadium.
Reserve parking near the stadium here for the Mercedes-Benz and Warriors Way Garages. Also nearby are 1800 Owens St. and 19th St. garages where you can pay when you get there