The Golden State Warriors finally got their first win in their shiny, new San Francisco arena on Monday night, a 127-118 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers’ Damian Lillard wasn’t thrilled about the loss, but he was also unhappy about something else: the existence of the Warriors’ new arena, Chase Center.
Lillard is an Oakland native and doesn’t approve of the Warriors moving out of his hometown. After the game, he shared his feelings with the media and explained why the Warriors’ move bothered him.
Oakland native Damian Lillard on Golden State's move to SF and the Warriors fan base since leaving Oracle. pic.twitter.com/Dp1N9Ta9uj— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) November 4, 2019
The Warriors had a long history at Oracle Arena (now Oakland Arena). They played there for nearly 50 seasons starting in 1971, and while it’s understandable that they’d want a brand new arena, they also abandoned a vibrant fanbase in Oakland.
As Lillard mentioned, the Warriors aren’t the only team running from Oakland. The Oakland Raiders, who already left the city in the 1980s only to return in the mid 1990s, are in their last season in Oakland before moving and becoming the Las Vegas Raiders. Like the Warriors, the Raiders are leaving behind a vibrant and dedicated fanbase. (Though it’s worth mentioning that the Warriors are just moving across the bay while the Raiders are leaving California entirely.)
Lillard is correct when he says that money is what’s behind these decisions, and it’s why fans and owners will never be on the same side. Both fans and owners love their teams, but the end game for fans is community, pride, and championships. For owners, it’s easy to dismiss the love and pride of fans in favor of a greater profit margin and a richer customer base that can buy high-priced luxury boxes.
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