The Golden State Warriors’ “We Believe” era is one of the most savage seasons in all of the NBA’s recent history. The unlikeliest group of NBA greats mercilessly disrupted the status quo and shook the crux of the league to its core. Unseating the number one seed in the first round of playoffs was their crowning moment.
Number eight seeded Golden State Warriors ruthlessly defeated the Dallas Mavericks in a take no prisoners series. The Mavericks were the favorite to win the conference and had all the players to do it. Funded by very present, vocal and often found court-side billionaire Mark Cuban, who thought they couldn’t be beat, the Mavericks held all the cards. But what they didn’t have was heart.
The Golden State Warriors fueled by the “We Believe” campaign lethally reinvigorated the team. Just two months from the end of the season, the Warriors turned into a completely different elite team, finding themselves qualifying for the Western Conference Playoffs, achieving the 8th seed. But in the first round they would need to face-off against the top ranked team in the West — The Dallas Mavericks.
Doomed against great odds, no one thought they would even make a dent, but re-fueled by fans and the whole city chanting “We Believe,” something inside the Warriors snapped and they became the most ruthless players on the court.
From there, the Warriors punished the Dallas Mavericks night after night extending the series to six games, ruining their season and any prospects to move on to the Finals where everyone thought they belonged. It was a last ditch effort, but the Mavericks couldn’t compete with the “We Believe” Warriors team. They succumbed and the Warriors, the whole city, and the nation erupted.
A new sense of confidence, and possibly arrogance, ran through the city, culminating into the nastiest dunk to ever happen in the NBA Playoffs. Every year this dunk is celebrated. Although Golden State didn’t make it out of the second round, they didn’t go quietly. Until this day, the dunk that was felt around the globe is praised and revered as one of the coldest things to ever happen on national television. That dunk, delivered by none other than Baron Davis, will never be forgotten. It’s the crux that became the beacon of the “We Believe” Warriors team that unseated the number one seed and launched the franchise onto the path its on today. The Warriors would not be where they are today, as a franchise, as the crown jewel of the city, without “We Believe.”
Commemorate this feeling and the “We Believe” Era of the Golden State Warriors with this trademark tee of Baron Davis dunking on Andrei Kirilenko. Get yours HERE!
Hometown Favorites – Grind Weekend
This past weekend, legends from the Los Angeles basketball community got together at the Cal State Los Angeles gym.
They invited the next generation of LA hoopers and shared their knowledge about the game of basketball, the brotherhood, and life outside of hoops.
Russell Westbrook, Lou Williams, Baron Davis, Nick Young, DeMar DeRozan, Dorell Wright, Trevor Ariza, Bobby Brown, Pooh Jeter, Montrezl Harrell, Chris Copeland, Michael Beasley and others spent their weekend with some of LA’s top basketball talent from middle school to the college level.
Follow the movement on @la.unfd
Ty Lue to Join the Clippers Staff as an Assistant Coach
A few months ago, no one would be surprised to learn that Ty Lue would be coaching in L.A. this season.
They just thought it would be as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Instead, Lue is going to be coaching the Los Angeles Clippers as the top assistant on Doc Rivers staff.
This isn’t the first time that Lue has coached under Rivers, as he was part of his staff with the Boston Celtics from 2011-2013. Then when Rivers was traded to coach the Clippers, Lue followed him to L.A. and coached under him for another season.
Lue would leave Rivers staff to become the associate head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers and would eventually become their head coach.
Lue won a championship in his first season as the head coach, after taking over the position from David Blatt mid-season in 2016. Lue was praised for his work getting the best out of LeBron James, which is why he seemed like an ideal fit for the Lakers.
The Lakers were ultimately too cheap with their offer for Lue, which insulted him and forced him to turn down the job.
Instead they hired Frank Vogel to be the head coach, leaving Lue free to be picked up by Rivers and the Clippers.
There is no way of knowing for sure the impact that Lue will have on the Clippers this season, but it can’t hurt to have a former championship-winning coach on the staff.
PJ Tucker: The Latest to Walk from Team USA
A man known for what sneakers he has on his feet just walked out on Team USA. Following De’Aaron Fox’s subsequent withdrawal, the Red, White, and Blue is down to 13 healthy and able bodies in Las Vegas this summer.
Team USA is spending August preparing for the FIBA World Cup, and thus trying to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Tucker and Fox withdrawing from the Stars and Stripes speaks to a larger issue that Team USA has run into this summer: the number of American born stars that are willing to spend the off season playing this high a level of competitive basketball is small.
The roster itself only features players with a total of five NBA All-Star appearances, the least since the NBA Lockout of 1998 led to a team with no active NBA Players. The ’98 team, however, had a young Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tim Hardaway, and Chris Webber… and faced little obstacle in winning the FIBA Gold.
Also unlike the ’98 squad, this Team USA is dominated by guard play, which does bode well for international play. Traditionally, international teams have been able to find ways to produce talented big men. But, much like the NCAA tournament, the FIBA tournament is usually dominated by the speed and pace of the ball handlers.
Basketball, however, is shifting to bigs that handle the ball. Giannis Antetokounmpo, for example, already has an international highlight reel of him taking the rebound from one end and forcefully dunking the fast break on the other. Nikola Jokic, the Denver Nuggets’ seven-footer, runs the Serbian offense and could very well lead the European continent in assists.
The United States fared well in their recent exhibition against Spain. Donovan Mitchell and Khris Middleton led the way by each scoring more than a dozen points in the well-balanced American attack. Coach Greg Popovich used 12 different players in his rotations, and each combination seemed to have no issue finding good shots.
Still, Americans are left wondering where the star power has gone on Team USA. One clear aspect is that the upcoming NBA season has as much uncertainty as any in recent memory, and the typical All-Star caliber player is using this off season to prep for a potential finals run. Depending on the analyst you ask, more than half a dozen teams could realistically win the Larry O’Brien this season. Thus, the stars of those teams want to do everything they can to stay healthy, prepare mentally, and build team chemistry leading to that end. Thus, most of the players on Team USA are either young enough to be able to put more wear and tear on their legs, on teams that have an outside shot at a championship at best, are a role player that will have less usage during the season, or some combination of the three.
That does not mean there won’t be highlights at this year’s FIBA games. Young Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell headlines a group of up and coming names on the American team. Mitchell may be preparing for a breakout third NBA season, and playing a big role in Coach Pop’s offense may be exactly the right jumpstart. Mitchell led the team in minutes in their two exhibition games in Las Vegas, and looks to be a key part of the offensive gameplan.
There are four Boston Celtics on the team: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and recently acquired Kemba Walker. There will undoubtedly be stretches where the four of them, or at least some combination of two or three of them, are on the floor at the same time. Not only does this preview the season in Boston, but the congruence these four get will be important for the success of both Team USA and the Celtics.
Team USA heads to Australia to train down under before playing the Australian national team on August 22nd. Australia features eight NBA players, headlined by Patty Mills and Joe Ingles (Ben Simmons recently withdrew, similar to several American players, to focus on the NBA season). While they are not as highly ranked in FIBA as Spain, the United States may have their hands full trying to match up with so many pro perimeter players.
Tune in at 5:30 AM eastern on August 22nd to watch the USA continue to tune up against Australia. Too early or late for ya? The two rematch on August 24th at 12:00 AM eastern, and the USA wraps up exhibition play against Canada, in Australia, at 5:30 AM on August 26th.
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