SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Writing out my daily observations with your Golden State Warriors sometimes makes me reassess the experience and feel blessed all over again. Sometimes the things that happen behind-the-scenes end up being more memorable than the performance on the court.
Again, my DubNation Diaries are likely to become subscriber-only in due time. Feel free to share your thoughts on this in the comments below.
SHOOTAROUND: NATIONAL TREASURE!
Morning shootaround with #squad ended better than it started. We were told we had about thirty seconds to go and grab “b roll” footage, as the Indiana Pacers were strolling through and about to start theirs as the Dubs headed to the locker room. That usually means you won’t get anything worthy of a YouTube upload.
Luckily, Stephen Curry was hanging out with assistant Bruce Fraser aka “Q” and I knew DubNation wanted to see him so I started filming.
Then Klay Thompson walked by and dropped a nugget: “Dray isn’t an All-Star starter? What’s the NBA coming to? I’m gonna boycott this league!” (I didn’t hear the “Dray” part of that when I first heard him, so I didn’t know he was referring to Draymond Green until I reviewed the footage later — and it’s taken me until now to conclude he probably does mean Green, as there aren’t any other All-Stars or All-Star contenders with “Dray” or “Dre”, as their nickname, for example, plus “Trae” as in Trae Young is a starter.)
Turns out, Klay didn’t cast a player ballot and PR man Raymond Ridder got on him for that, as you can see in the footage. I’m still wondering if Klay was kidding 🤷🏻♂️ Just another reason he’s a national treasure!
That and the fact it wasn’t an actual Q&A but rather so-called “non-game-action” I was filming, were the reasons why I kind of left the clip open for judgment when it got posted on Instagram. Technically, Klay just said something in passing, not expecting it to be recorded (or maybe he was? 🤔) but then again I was already there filming “non-game action” at a shootaround already opened to media. Usually it’s better to not publicize something someone said in passing, but this one was innocent enough.
As for Steph, it looked like he was chatting about pivot feet with Q, then they moved on to approach 2015 championship teammate Justin Holiday, who was hanging by the visiting team’s tunnel.
One more thing: Poor Bob Myers! He just got hip replacement surgery and was on crutches, making a self-effacing joke to onlooker Chris Ballard — big story on the Warriors coming soon from SportsIllustrated, perhaps? 🤔
Someone on YouTube commented, “Bob is injured, too?”
Hey NBA, can we get a general manager hardship exception to help with this hard cap? 🙋🏻♂️
I decided to high-tail it back to the shootaround interviewee’s chair outside the interview room near the steps down to the locker room, and there I found Green talking to media. It’s too bad I didn’t figure out later until watching the tape that Klay had mentioned his name, otherwise I might have asked Green about Klay’s loyalty.
We still got plenty of good stuff from Draymond, though. I highly recommend watching all of his Q&As literally from start to finish. First of all, he does a really good job of framing his thoughts and secondly, his delivery is top-notch, full of emotion and passion. I think he’s probably the Number One interview of all sports figures. It’s pretty much guaranteed he’ll give you a quotable at any sit-down. And you can learn a lot from him just by watching and listening.
My favorite part was the description of how he became a Pittsburgh Steelers fan (because of Michigan native Jerome Bettis) as opposed to his hometown Detroit Lions.
I asked him about his adding to his “bag” by working more closely with Q this year, but he didn’t offer up too much. I hope to observe some more and come back with more specific questions. And then I also forgot to film him doing those “Karate Kid” drills at pregame. I won’t be traveling with the team coming up until I reach Brooklyn the day before they say “Wassup!” to Kevin Durant and his new team at Barclays Center, so notch an “L” for me on that front — would’ve been nice to show KD or his circle my video of Dray doing the drill he used to do!
PREGAME: MUMS THE WORD & KICKZ
The news of Willie Cauley-Stein aka “Trillie” or “WCS” being traded broke about an hour before pregame activities were to start at Chase Center, so I shelved this write-up and headed over, just in case any other news broke. The arena was decked out in Lunar New Year (note: no longer marketed as “Chinese New Year”) colors, which coincidentally are the same as that of our beloved Super Bowl participating San Francisco 49ers.
January 25th 2020
The most memorable moments from pregame for me included Steve Kerr’s presser where he wasn’t allowed to talk about the Cauley-Stein deal because it wasn’t official yet. Anthony Slater pushed hard for a quote, Kerr looked over to Ridder for guidance, but Ridder was pre-occupied. Aside: Kerr is so media-friendly. He just gets it. Best communication skills in the business.
“I’m reading Logan (Murdock, NBC Sports Bay Area reporter)’s question,” Ridder said after a moment of silence, peering up from his phone.
Kerr caught Murdock texting Ridder from across the room 😂
There might be better overall footage of the exchange in the HD version. I haven’t had time to check:
Another memorable pregame thing was Glenn Robinson III aka “GRIII” wearing Klay’s Anta KT5 low-tops. That was a surprise, as Robinson has worn Nikes for the longest time. As you might already know, Kevon Looney and Jacob Evans actually have shoe endorsement contracts with Anta, so it was very curious to see Robinson giving them a try. Klay’s not the type to reach out and suggest a potential business relationship, as he’s way too laid back for that. For example, I once asked him what Anta had in store for the next version of his signature shoe. He had no clue. So I might have to do some digging to see how GRIII in KT5s came about. Also, someone on Twitter joked that GRIII was doing everything he could to not get traded.
Also it was weird not having @iBurks or @YazooMotif (sorry, I literally do not know their real names off the top of my head), who are the two multimedia guys under the employ of Cauley-Stein, out there on the hardwood alongside myself, Logan Linkmeyer (D’Angelo Russell’s videographer) and others on the baseline getting clips and pics of not just Trillie but other sights and sounds.
If you’ve seen @iBurks or @YazooMotif’s work on Instagram or Twitter — particularly on Trillie’s pages — you’ll see some high-quality production. As I remarked to the two, the Luka Doncic fans in Slovenia and Europe have no idea how much of a bump in content they got, just with the mere presence of these two talents behind the lens. Rest assured there will be plenty of Dallas Mavericks footage coming down the pipeline; they shoot more than just their employer. DubNation will miss them.
Russell aka “DLo” also once again sported some colorways I’d never seen before of his new “Way of Wade” signature line.
And Curry was spotted chatting with some VIP fans in attendance again, then signing some autographs. That’s the second time I’ve seen that in as many games. I wonder if those are just one-offs or if he’s going to be making pregame cameos a regular thing. Again, his target return date for an NBA game is March 1. Got a long way to go.
With the roster so depleted, such as with the absence of Cauley-Stein, I was able to post the usual one pregame workout video per player, plus Steph, with the video of the introductions already processing as I walked up to press row. That’s the fastest I’d ever done that all season.
Which means I didn’t get backlogged as badly as I usually do during the game. I was able to stay on top of the action, the livetweet, as well as the Game Thread comments.
I was able to copy-and-paste some stats from Twitter (and our YouTube app Community section) into the Game Thread and that looked helpful. It’s interesting how there’s different audiences. On Twitter, we have followers in other countries who rely on tweets as an occasional-yet-more-descriptive adjunct to the NBA website’s play-by-play listing. And sometimes our followers lack a TV broadcast or they’re in a part of the world where they have to catch up on the game at a later time.
Whereas here on the Game Thread, the local TV broadcast is assumed. You might even get someone making a criticism of the announcers, Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike.
So should I inject some of the tweets from the livetweet or is that redundant? Send me your thoughts in the comments 👇
On Twitter it’s easy to quote-tweet accounts tweeting out highlights and we make a thread of them, then we put what we can as YouTube Stories, which actually is kind of a neat experience viewing the highlights in portrait mode. So download the YouTube app, subscribe to LetsGoWarriors, and check it out! I also include some exclusive behind-the-scenes clips in the Stories that are not on Instagram, as a way to thank our YouTube subscribers.
My quickie game recap: Once again, the Baby Dubs couldn’t stop a “versa-big”. This time it was in the person of Domantas Sabonis, who missed a triple-double by just two assists. With Cauley-Stein gone, this is going to linger as a major issue. I mean, it was an issue even with him on the court.
And that brings me to the issue of “tanking”. IMO it really just depends on your definition of the word. There can be multiple definitions, too.
Obviously the Warriors aren’t going to make a move to replace WCS so that they have a better shot at winning games against teams that have a guy like Sabonis. Not even trying to improve the roster, that can be deemed as tanking.
Obviously Jordan Poole isn’t going to purposely miss a three-pointer to help the Warriors “tank” a game. So if you’re looking at it from that angle, that’s not tanking.
But back to actual game performance, it’s just disappointing to see the lack of discipline (seven turnovers in the second quarter) and the ease by which the opponents score (the Pacers were 13-for-18 at one point in the same quarter and Doug McDermott didn’t miss a single attempt until late in the game). Alas, this is a young squad and, really, it’s hard for a 10-and-37 team to “make a stand” on defense. There’s not much to stand up for. It’s the “Gap Year” blues. So I find myself getting frustrated in the moment, then calming down and seeing the bigger picture again. What can Kerr and staff really do about it, though? All they can do is stick with their basketball principles and try their best. And yet, I’ll continue to have to calm down some people knee-jerking on Twitter and YouTube.
POSTGAME: THANK YOU, DLO 😂
From the usually barren locker room (shaped like a mini-Oracle Arena — I need a new name for “locker room”), we did finally see Cauley-Stein head out, with his attaché case in hand. His locker had not been cleared out just yet. I told him good luck and he said thanks.
After Kerr, GRIII, and Marquese Chriss, we waited for DLo who apparently was taking awhile showering. We noticed how many pairs of Way of Wade shoes he has neatly arranged in front of his locker seat.
We waited and waited and finally the last two remaining beatwriters, Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle and Wes Goldberg of the San Jose Mercury, understandably decided they needed to go write, and up and left.
Bonta Hill strolled in as he was more than ready to go do his postgame radio stand-up with Whitley Sandretto for 95.7 The Game.
Finally Ridder opened the door with DLo in tow and asked us if we needed him to do the Q&A.
Hill shook his head, “Nah,” and DLo — dressed in black “floods” for pants with white socks and black shoes, resembling Michael Jackson — turned around, walked out the door and quipped, “Is that how you game the system?” (That would be a resounding yes, DLo!)
For fun, Hill sat down and presided over the mic, asking for predictions on the Super Bowl, especially pointing to Missouri native and co-host Sandretto. As luck would have it, there was one other member of the media rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, which made for some good, loud back-and-forth of projected final scores.
As we left the room, someone said the NBC Bay Area Sports cameras probably filmed the whole exchange and could post it on social media, to which Hill turned around and exclaimed, “No, burn the tape!” — preventing the potentially embarrassing podium game from going viral.
But… it turns out the feed to the Warriors media room was on the whole time, and got captured anyways!
Sandretto soon tweeted that the thought did occur to her the people in the media room could probably see what was going on, but she “decided to let him have his moment.” 😂
And to think, all Bonta had to do was agree to let DLo take maybe one or two questions and we would have also had some nice quips referring to MJ as DLo walked off the podium. But this was funnier.
[The following was added at 9:30AM Sunday — I have no idea why I forgot this happened…]
And yet… my night still wasn’t over. I’d heard from Chase security guards that there would be a church service of sorts. Now ever since we peeped Steph at Kanye West’s thing — which was incredible to watch btw (on YouTube), I’ve noticed more and more of it going around. Btw the following is best viewed portrait mode on a smartphone:
The Warriors played a sample of it (not sure if it was actually Kanye’s or not) in the Biofreeze training room next to mini-Oracle after the game two nights prior, and suddenly there was an actual one happening at Chase postgame.
In fact, I darted in for a glance whilst waiting for DLo, dashing back-and-forth through the tunnel. I didn’t see Steph. Then I decided to go back and wait for DLo. Meanwhile, this was happening:
January 26th 2020
Well, after I got out of the Bonta Hill, er, DLo session, sure enough right at that corner where you turn for the corridor to the media room and/or visiting locker room, we’re Ayesha Curry and Steph hand-in-hand.
He stopped and gave the three or four security guards a mini-“Jones BBQ” set. It was too late for me to pull out my iPhone and record — would’ve been corny for Steph to have seen me do that and it’s kinda good now he’s seen me without my phone out two out of the last three times. For reference, here’s him doing the Jones BBQ dance at Oracle after the 2017 championship:
10-and-37 and I’m (still) loving every minute of it! Wait, “37”!!! 😱
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