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What the Golden State Warriors Sale Means to City, Fans, Team

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 7: Head coach Don Nelson (C) of Golden State Warriors celebrates with his fellow coaches and players following a basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center on April 7, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Warriors defeated the Timberwolves 116-107. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Shaun WeissmanContributor IJuly 16, 2010

The beauty of sports is that a successful team can provide its city's citizens with hope and an extended feeling of unity even if it is going through a dire social, economic, or political situation.

Right now Oakland, California, the stomping grounds of the Golden State Warriors, is a city with a negative national image and the location of continuous heartbreak and disappointment when it comes to local professional sports.

The A's have fallen off, the Raiders are in rebuilding mode, and the Warriors never seem to pan out to be more than just an exciting team.

The heartbreak and poverty have masked the hope and faith for too long.

When I heard news that the Warriors had been sold for a record $450 million, I couldn't help having an immediate flashback to the sea of fans in "we believe" shirts cheering wildly in unison just years ago.

Joe Lacob is a passionate basketball fan, and becoming an owner of the Warriors is a dream come true for the business mogul. He's been a minority partner of the Boston Celtics (although that will now end), one of the most dominant franchises in NBA history and knows what being with a winning organization feels like.

His other named partner in crime in the purchase of the Warriors is Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber, who has already acknowledged that he'll defer basketball decisions to Lacob.

That's probably the best idea considering Lacob has seen the ins and outs of a winning organization.

The new owners have some young talent to build around and a wild fan base when the team is winning . No, Warriors fans aren't bandwaggon jumpers, and for those who think so, would you buy tickets to a team that went 26-56 last season?

Starters: Andris Biedrins, David Lee, Dorell Wright, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry.

Bench: Charlie Bell, Dan Gadzuric, Ekpe Udoh, Reggie Williams and Brandon Wright.

No that isn't a championship lineup, and expecting a team undergoing complete change to make the playoffs this season might also be a little too much to ask.

But the building blocks are there, and maybe the new ownership will be willing to spend a little more to turn this team of talent into a contender.

It's a great sports town filled with prideful fans that just need something to cheer about. It's Lacob's priority to provide them with that.

"Our job is to take what we have and build," Lacob told The Chronicle . "We've got a plan. We're not going to be able to do it over night, so I hope the fans are a little bit patient, but, as a fan, I don't expect them to be too patient. We're going to execute on our plan and build a winner here."

Who knows, maybe the Warriors will follow the Commitment to Excellence banner that hangs high for Raiders games and provide this city with a much needed infusion of ambition.

Right now all that is certain is that there is more reason for optimism among the Warriors faithful than has been felt for a number of years.

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