Now, San Francisco isn't a city that typically gets caught up in waves of spots fever. But given the right circumstances, we will find a team that we can all unite behind. The 2007 Golden State Warriors were just that team.
The images from the storybook season are familiar to us all by now: the return of Nellie patrolling the sideline; Steven Jackson's wide smile, obtained in a lopsided midseason trade; the dejected look on Dirk and Mark's faces during the shocking upset of the Mavs; Baron's ferocious posterization of Kirilenko in Round 2. They're all moments none of us will soon forget.
But the most unforgettable aspect of the Cinderella run was the effect it had on the fans and the population as a whole. And what a beautiful reward it was for a fanbase that had been starved of playoff action for 13 years. Here we were for the world to see: a sea of yellow, united as one under the apropos motto, "WE BELIEVE."
The verdict: Never before had anyone seen a more intimidating homecourt advantage.
And while the crowd at Oracle made itself heard, the streets of San Francisco were largely emptied as gametime rolled around for each game. Shouts of glee and pain could be heard emanating from every bar and living room, as we rolled with the emotional ebb and flow of playoff basketball.
We believed, all right. And the rest of the country soon did too.