There is no doubt coming into the 2016-17 NBA season that the Golden State Warriors are the most hated team in the league – and it’s easy to see why.
Even before Kevin Durant decided to ditch the Oklahoma City Thunder for the suburbs of Silicon Valley, many people already hated the Golden State Warriors with a passion.
Perhaps it was because many believe they got lucky during the 2015 NBA Finals, when the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving went down with a season-ending injury in Game 1. This certainly helped pave the way to a championship for the Warriors, who defeated the Cavs in six games.
Maybe it’s due to many Warriors “fans” popping up out of the bushes starting around 2014, with numerous die-hard followers of other NBA teams understandably questioning their loyalty.
Or it could be simply because they just win, and people have a tough time giving credit when credit is due. Let’s face it – some people find joy in hating on the success of others.
In reality, it’s a combination of these three things mainly, with some other reasons mixed in for good measure.
People didn’t really start to hate Draymond Green until he begun purposely kicking Steven Adams’ testicles like he was an NFL punter. He did this not once, but TWICE during the 2016 Western Conference Finals when the Warriors were playing the Thunder.
Shockingly, the NBA did not suspend him for either time he did this to Adams.
It wasn’t until Green took a swipe at the nuts of LeBron James in Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals that the league decided to suspend him. Which was incredibly frustrating because it was far less of an offense when compared to what he did to Adams. Hit a role player below the belt? Who cares? But hit a star where the sun don’t shine? Automatic one-game suspension!
Throw these incidents in with his constant flexing and trash-talking, and it’s not hard to understand why people don’t like Dray.
Many also remember when the team’s owner, Joe Lacob, in an interview with the New York Times, said that the Dubs were “light years” ahead of their competition. After apologizing for these remarks to Curry, Lacob followed up after the Warriors’ crushing loss in the 2016 NBA Finals with some more absurd thoughts. While attending the Stanford Directors’ College summit, Lacob talked about how the Warriors had ushered in the era of small ball and how they would now move on to something else bigger and better.
These arrogant remarks are simply mind-blowing. The Warriors have won one title with their core of Curry, Green, and Klay Thompson – hardly a clear indication that they are so far ahead of everyone else. And if that wasn’t enough, it seems Lacob was completely discounting that it was in fact Mike D’Antoni who brought small ball to the NBA over a decade ago.
During D’Antoni’s time as head coach of the Phoenix Suns, he regularly toyed with lineups, where he would put Amar’e Stoudemire at center, and Shawn Marion at power forward. Those Suns teams were known for their speed, versatility, and outside shooting. Which is something we see a lot more of in the league today. The Warriors have taken D’Antoni’s model and nearly perfected it – but they didn’t invent it.
Durant joining the Warriors is just the cherry on top of this hate sundae. The Thunder were one game away from the NBA Finals before they blew a 3-1 lead. Instead of staying with the Russell Westbrook and co., Durant joined the team that beat him. Many fans see this is as a totally weak move on his part, and reasonably so.
The Warriors might even be more hated than the Miami Heat when they signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
In terms of the claim that the Warriors have a ton of bandwagoner fans, it’s absolutely true. But this isn’t exactly fair to the city of Oakland itself, who stuck with the Warriors when they weren’t so great. If you look at the attendance records from the last twenty years, even when the Dubs were struggling, those fans were there.
With that said, it’s certainly reasonable to be cynical when it comes to Warriors’ fans everywhere else outside of Oakland. It seems like everywhere you look nowadays, there’s someone rocking a brand new looking Curry jersey.
There are many reasons to hate the Warriors, and you better believe they will have a huge target on their back all season long. It will be fascinating to see how they handle all of this negative publicity, and if they will be able to live up to the massive expectations now placed on their shoulders.