Gold Blooded: the rise of Dub Nation HQ and the 2022 world champ Warriors
So, my birthday was June 17th, mere hours after the Golden State Warriors seized the 2022 NBA championship in thrilling fashion by eliminating the Boston Celtics on the road in front of a hostile crowd.
You can probably imagine how much Hennessy and champagne has alternated in my bloodstream as family and friends showered me in a double-whammy of celebratory libations. One of the things that kept popping up in conversations was “Dude, what the heck are you gonna say in your next article? They did everything you said they were gonna do, are you gonna take a victory lap?”.
And yeah, I guess you could say I have been supremely confident about the Dubs winning the chip this whole season. Just take a look at the opening intro to the podcast with Dr. Tom I did where I openly called for Boston’s destruction because I wanted the world to know that no one can possibly stop this dynasty:
But for those looking for a gold blooded monologue on the inevitable destruction of the league, I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you today dear friend.
I’m too overwhelmed by gratitude to the team, the fanbase, and you good folks at Dub Nation HQ to truly wrap my head around all the prophecies that came true. Sure, I was called an arrogant gaslighter because I repeatedly handwaved away comment thread concerns like “WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO WITHOUT KENT BAZEMORE” and “WHY DIDN’T WE TRADE WIGGINS + WISEMAN + 2 LOTTERY PICKS FOR BEN SIMMONS”.
But there’ll be plenty of time to gloat later, heck the parade’s Monday!
For right now I want to touch on the journey of this community and how it parallels Golden State’s return to the top.
I met Nate P., Eric Apricot, Duby Dub Dubs, Dr. Tom, Patrick Murray, Ivan B, and Joe Viray through GSOM in 2016. We were on top of the blogboi world by the time of the 2018-2019 season when we had that site humming like a well-oiled machine. We had the cLiCkZ, we had the notoriety, and we were getting a small stipend to cover the team we loved the most. Not bad right?
And then…Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant got hurt at the end of that season, we lost the Finals, and GSW abandoned their longtime Oakland home in Oracle Arena. As the roster splintered into something kinda unrecognizable outside of the Core 3, that GSOM crew was still putting in the work to make the community buzz and get those clicks. We still had high hopes for the 2019-2020 season, hell we were coming off five straight Finals trips!
But then… KD left and Steph Curry broke his hand. The season became a painfully long developmental year for rookies like Eric Paschall and Jordan Poole. At the same time, word slipped out that Vox was going to axe the majority of the contributors from GSOM. Shocking news, and very painful to hear for those of us who had built that thing into a powerhouse. To this day they still have Apricot’s E1P’s pinned at the bottom of their articles smh.
Rich of Lets Go Warriors was kind enough to partner with those of us escaping the Vox wreckage. He generously offered to help us explore ways to keep our collective voice out there during a slim window of time when the waves of the ever changing blogosphere could have washed us away. The GSOM community followed us to the new LGW site here on Substack, and we planted the seeds for a new gathering place for Warriors fandom.
Then the pandemic hit, the world stopped, and there was no basketball to cover. I vividly remember talking to Apricot, Duby Dub Dubs, Nate P., and Rich about whether or not we should go forward with this experiment. Apricot led the charge, turning into a content machine, putting the team on his back during the dog days. He inspired me to hang in this blogboi thing despite a series of injuries I suffered during a car accident, and my increasing disenchantment with talking about sports during a time of global duress.
That whole time, this community was still rolling. The comment section was still popping, and you supported us as we took some funky risks with thought experiments and random music videos. You kept investing your dollars and time into us, and your words were very encouraging.
When basketball restarted, the Warriors missed the playoffs with the worst record in the NBA. When they came back in 2020-2021 y’all were right there with us in another Klay-less year, rooting for the likes of Kent Bazemore and Kelly Oubre Jr. as we ran out of gas against Memphis in the play-in.
When we split from LGW following that loss to forge Dub Nation HQ, there was a real bunker mentality behind it. I knew there was an extremely high probability of the Warriors entering the 2021-2022 season with attainable championship aspirations (health permitting). I also knew that the fanbase had been bruised and shamed by the dropoff from five straight Finals to the lottery. I wanted Dub Nation HQ to be the homebase where we could all dump our analysis, our anxieties, and our goldblooded bravado.
That’s why I felt it was so important to capture those “My Worst Takes” in parallel to the world-class analysis Apricot and Duby Dub Dubs churn out on a regular basis. I wanted us to be a dojo for dueling basketball philosophies with a heavy dollop of jovial chastisement/roasting thrown in to keep us all loose. Basketball is a game of entertainment after all.
And now we’re here. A thriving community with thousands of subscribers that have evolved into the prime destination for those of us who live in that place of fanaticism that is all parts fun, intelligent, silly, heartbreaking, encouraging, humble, arrogant, and authentic to the Bay Area soil.
By the way, the Warriors are the champs again. We did it, HQ.
Thank you guys and gals so much, more coverage is on the way. That goldblooded arrogant monologue is coming…