If you're a Golden State Warriors fan, you're probably thrilled to hear that the Jim Barnett saga is drawing to a close.
After three decades of serving as the color commentator for the Dubs and earning a close and passionate following, due primarily to his intelligent insight, unique witticisms and idiosyncratic inserts to the conversations, Barnett quite frankly seemed as though he was on the way out for Golden State.
As Kelly Dwyer wrote for Yahoo! Sports near the end of the 2013-14 campaign, Barnett was being forced out so that he could do a gazelle imitation and speed along into a new role as a team ambassador. And quite frankly, that was unfortunate, due to his longstanding spot in the booth:
Many fans outside of the Bay Area will also be forced to wave goodbye to Golden State Warriors color analyst Jim Barnett, who is basically being asked to step down as one of the voices behind Warriors telecasts in order to take on an ambassador’s role with the team. That decision was made last autumn, and was hardly noticed outside of GSW-blog circles, a move that I regret missing and then lamenting as we prepped for the slog of an 82-game, five and a half month season.
"Nothing lasts forever," said the former Warriors guard before the start of the 2013-14 campaign, per Bruce Jenkins of SFGate.com. "I've had a great run, and I trust this organization. I'll still be at every game, and I'm very happy they want me around."
But now, the tables have turned. Quite frankly, a failed pursuit of Brent Barry is what's leading to a return for season No. 30, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:
Looks like the Warriors' TV and radio broadcast crews will be essentially the same for next season, including Jim Barnett close to full-time— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) June 13, 2014
Wasn't much doubt on Barnett's role... once it became clear that Brent Barry (their first choice) was unavailable for now.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) June 13, 2014
Letting Barnett fall out of public visibility was never a popular option, as this Mercury News piece by Adam Lauridsen makes abundantly clear.
"There’s no guarantee that an outpouring of support for Barnett will change things, but the team hasn’t announced a replacement for him," Lauridsen writes. "If they’re still weighing options, they should consider whether the most popular — and easiest — choice would be to bring back JB."
And boy was there an outpouring:
Fans took to Twitter (#KeepJim), shirts were made to commemorate Barnett's tenure as the color guy (as you can see above), Facebook groups were started and plenty of comments—like this one from Matthew Wong—were left on Lauridsen's article:
I'll admit that I am a relatively new fan (since 2004-05 season). However Jim Barnett has been one of the main reasons that even watching pre- 'We Believe' Warriors basketball was enjoyable, but you heard the nuances of the game, and how he was able to break down individual and team play. Jim's calls are like lectures about our favorite subject: basketball; he breaks it down, shares anecdotes to convey his point, and is passionate about the subject. As warriors fans, I don't know if we could have asked for a better teacher, especially for someone who has almost done it for 3 decades.
If #keepjim isn't able to change the current state of his tenure as a Warriors color commentator, then I hope the Warriors brass at least have the class to give Jim a standing ovation at Oracle sometime this season.
It all worked, per Kawakami.
Dubs fans will now be rejoicing, and for good reason. Everyone with a League Pass subscription (or at least those who are planning on getting one for the 2014-15 season) should join in on the celebration.
Thus continues the career of an NBA legend who sadly doesn't get as much credit as he deserves. Do what you can to tune into a Golden State broadcast next season. Quite frankly, you won't want to miss out on hearing those witticisms leaving his golden pipes at least once before he's actually gone from the booth.
May his mustache stay forever trimmed.