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The Warriors are finally clapping back

After years of sanitising their image and fighting to be seen as worthy NBA champions, four-time winners, the Golden State Warriors have finally cracked and are matching petty energy
Thu, Jun 23, 2022

Adversity in sport breeds resilience, and when that resilience is not acknowledged, it solicits contempt – for those at the helm and those referred to as “experts” or “analysts.” The Golden State Warriors perfected their craft in silence, away from prying eyes, while those responsible for putting the game of basketball into perspective and awarding titles to its top players chirped away. Coach Mark Jackson began the work in 2011 and added Klay Thompson and Draymond Green during his tenure, which ended in 2014. The team already boasted a young Stephen Curry who was well on his way to becoming great.

Over the 17 years before Jackson took the helm in 2011, the franchise had averaged 30.2 wins per season and made the playoffs only once. Jackson became just the third Warriors head coach to notch at least 50 wins in a season.

This Warriors core was overlooked by scouts, coaches, experts and armchair critics. How did they miss this? Curry was drafted seventh overall in the 2009 draft, Thompson was picked 11th in the 2011 draft class, and Green was selected 35th in the second round of the 2012 draft.

We weren’t expecting much from this motley crew of players and personalities. Curry and Thompson, two light-skinned brothers whose prowess from the three-point line earned them the nickname Splash Brothers, and Green, the dark-skinned villain of the piece who played hard, trash-talked eloquently and reveled in being the bad guy, while his yellow bone brethren cut a clean and respectable image in the media. Along with his fluent long-range shooting, Steph won the NBA Sportsmanship Award, which is given to a player who best exhibits fair play, ethics and integrity on the court.

He also maintained the image of being Mr. Nice Guy off the court. Green, meanwhile, called Lebron James a “bitch” during one of their finals. Last week, the golden boys won their fourth NBA championship.

The Warriors let loose after winning the title and let everyone know what they thought of them. Curry called out analysts who said he would not win another title. A player who has never won a championship was called a “bum” by Thompson simply because he mocked them after a loss.

Then this week, Green got into a twar with rising star Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies. All sportsmanship and decorum have been replaced by pettiness and now the Warriors appear as boastful winners.

Perhaps this behaviour spoke to the pressure they endured to claim this unlikely championship. Even after winning three championships, they were on a quest to prove themselves. It has been refreshing to see the Splash Brothers shed their boy next door demeanours and join Green on the dark side of the moon.

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