Welcome Back: Booing Former Golden State Warriors
Earlier this season, LeBron James took his talents back to Cleveland in possibly the most anticipated regular season game in NBA history. On a scale from bowing down to The King to executing him with a blunt knife, the crowd was somewhere around shooting him in the knee just so he could feel their pain. To a lesser extent (a much lesser extent), this happens at Oracle Arena too with former Warriors.
Latrell Sprewell was booed in his return to Oakland after choking head coach P.J. Carlesimo. Chris Webber was booed after he forced his way out of town due to an ugly feud with Don Nelson. Those two were justified.
More recently, players such as Baron Davis and Mike Dunleavy have heard the wrath from the Warrior faithful, too. But why? If you want to make fun of Baron Davis for being hungrier at the dinner table than on the court, then that's fair, but why do fans boo him?
Fans tend to think that Baron Davis opted out of the final year of his $17.8 million deal to bolt for the home town Los Angeles Clippers when in actuality, Chris Mullin and Baron reached a tentative agreement on a three-year, $39M extension (four-years, $56.8M, including the final year of his contract), until team president Robert Rowell nixed the deal. He wanted to stick around.
If you were Baron Davis and the team president didn't want you around, would you play out the last year of your deal or would you secure the last big contract of your NBA career with a five-year, $65M contract with your hometown team? Exactly.
So again, why do Warriors fans boo the player that made them relevant again?
I was at the Clippers vs. Warriors game last Friday and hype-man Franco Finn was presenting the Season Ticket Holder of the Game during a timeout. One of the questions that Finn always asks is, "What was your most memorable moment?"
The answer on that night, and on most nights, was the first-round upset against the Dallas Mavericks. I'm guessing that fan went on to boo the catalyst of that "We Believe" team for the rest of the game.
Another player that gets booed to no end is Mike Dunleavy. Mike Dunleavy, by all accounts was a bust. Warriors fans have seen a lot of bad players over the years, though. You don't miss the playoffs 15 out of the last 16 years without seeing a fair share of them. Tony Farmer anybody?
So why do Warriors fans treat Dunleavy like he slapped their mother? Here is what I can come up with:
- He underachieved. Dunleavy was the third overall pick in the 2002 draft. The third pick is expected to be a star and a cornerstone for the future. Mike Dunleavy wasn't that player. In my opinion, that was not his fault. He never had the potential to warrant the third pick in the draft. Dunleavy didn't choose to be drafted that high, the Warriors did. Therefore, shouldn't Garry St. Jean be booed? There's a reason why he's doing Warriors post game shows now with Matt Steinmetz.
- Dunleavy was overpaid. His production did not warrant his five-year, $44M contract. Chris Mullin thought Dunleavy's contract was fair market value using Tayshaun Prince's contract as a price point. Again, who's fault is it that Mike Dunleavy was overpaid? Boo Chris Mullin.
I'm all for booing former players when it is deserved. I'm not saying guys like Baron Davis and Mike Dunleavy should be welcomed with open arms like Jason Richardson is, but the hatred that fans have for these guys seems unwarranted.
If you are one of the fans that boos Baron and/or Dunleavy, I would like to hear why.
Until then, continue with the Baron Davis fat jokes.
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