Yes, the Oracle crowd marred Chris Mullin's jersey retirement ceremony by booing owner GSW Joe Lacob. I was in the building, and it was more brutal than television could possibly convey. The scene was also quite comedic, as a staid celebration turned into Rick Barry berating the crowd like a peeved principle at an unruly middle school assembly.
But why did the fans boo en masse?
The reasons were manifold, which is why I can't really blame them. The tut-tutting of Bay Area fans is coming mainly from outsiders—outsiders who don't really grasp the dynamics at play. So below, I've listed the confluence of factors that led to a very awkward public moment.
All the Losing
The Warriors will miss the playoffs again, for the 17th time in 18 years. This is in a league where more than half the teams make the playoffs.
The Warriors had just traded Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh for Andrew Bogut. While this may prove a decent swap in the future, the trade likely signalled the end of GSW's season (Bogut is out, probably for the year).
The Palace Intrigue
Many of those involved in the ceremony had past Warriors drama.
Chris Mullin himself had been ousted, Don Nelson had been fired after working to oust Mullin, announcer Greg Papa had been replaced back in the '90s, and Rick Barry had frequently stated over radio that he should coach the team.
So, this jersey retirement may not have had its intended poignant resonance, on account of all the bad blood.
Many fans are not happy with Lacob's first two years, and a major source of frustration is his use of the amnesty clause on the expiring contract of Charlie Bell. Had the Warriors kept the provision, they'd be able to clear Andris Biedrins off the books and have a much brighter future outlook.
Yes, despite his inefficiency, many fans truly loved the ex-Warriors shooting guard.
The Game Itself
With little offensive talent on the floor, GSW had scored only 35 points in the first half. Fans were, to put it lightly, displeased by the performance.
The Larry Ellison Element
The Oracle CEO tried to buy the team, only to have Lacob wrest it from him in the end. There is a feeling in the Bay that the wealthier Ellison would have been a preferable option.
Lacob pledged to season ticket holders that the Warriors would "reach the 2012 NBA Playoffs" and "have a player participate in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando."
This hasn't happened, obviously.
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