According to the Golden State Warriors' official Twitter feed, head coach Mark Jackson, general manager Bob Myers and Draymond Green paid a visit to San Quentin State Penitentiary on Saturday.
Don't worry, they were allowed to leave.
(1/2) @jacksonmark13, Bob Myers & group of GSW employees spent the day playing hoops at San Quentin State Prison as part of outreach program— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) September 22, 2012
Jackson and Myers actually played in a game against a team of inmates, under the close supervision of guards and a few hundred spectators. And while the Warriors are to be commended for their unique outreach program—which, by the way, has been going on for a while now—there are probably a few things they've picked up from their time in prison.
Here are a few, just for kicks:
Running's Not a Great Idea
There's sort of a double meaning here, with the phrase's more literal application in prison being slightly more severe. "Running" on the yard could end very badly, with watchful armed guards perched above. Running's a fool's errand in San Quentin.
But the same applies to the Warriors, who'll only be fooling themselves if they think running's a good idea on the court this season. The roster's designed to play efficiently in the half court now. Teams run when they can't execute in a slow-down game. The Warriors can succeed with a more disciplined style now.
So while the Warriors' potential attempts to run this season won't be met with consequences quite so severe as the ones facing San Quentin's inmates, it's still a pretty bad idea.
You've Got to Earn Respect
Here's a newsflash: Prison's a rough place. Jackson, Myers and the staffers who played in Saturday's game against the inmates are definitely owed respect. But they earned that respect by showing up and playing, not by virtue of their status as NBA celebrities. Nobody just gives respect in that world—it's earned.
The Warriors have been a doormat for 20 years now, and for at least that long, have been circled on opposing teams' schedules as a cakewalk game. While the Dubs have improved significantly this offseason and figure to play a tougher style this year, there's no award for having a nice offseason. Playoff berths aren't earned on paper.
Most of all, a team's two-decade-old image as a pushover won't go away on its own. The Warriors have to earn the league's respect this year.
Hope Is Important
Hope is just about the most valuable commodity there is in San Quentin—if you exclude cigarettes. Without it, things can start to look pretty bleak.
I wrote about hope and belief as it pertained to the Warriors' success this season, and it'll be pretty vital for the organization and its fans.
The Warriors and their supporters need to believe there's something better out there than season after season of lottery picks. They have to hope that a better future is possible. Just like the inmates have to believe there's a reason to be optimistic about the future.
And if you think it's a stretch to compare prison inmates to Warriors fans, you obviously haven't been around the Bay Area for the last 20 years of hard time as a Dubs loyalist.
New ownership and a more able front office have planted the seeds of hope for Warrior fans by suddenly operating the franchise like a legitimate NBA team. The future's looking brighter.
So now, with things starting to turn around, there's reason to hope.