Oracle Arena: Breaking Down the NBA's Most Intense Place to Play
The Golden State Warriors are the NBA's glamour team, having won two of the last three championships and setting the league record for wins (73-9) in the season that they didn't bring home the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
The Warriors have received tremendous support from their fans while they have been dominant, but those supporters were also extremely loyal before the team started nailing championships.
The combination of the team, fans and environment in Oracle Arena make it the most intense place to play in the NBA.
There's serious competition from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City and the Rose Garden in Portland, but the East Bay arena gets the nod.
Oklahoma City doesn't have the longevity as the team enters its 10th year in its current home after leaving Seattle, while Portland doesn't have quite the intimidation factor.
There's a certain confidence every time Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and the rest of the Warriors take the floor on their home court.
That confidence has been translated to their fans, and there's no mistaking that those in the stands believe their team will do whatever it takes to get a win.
It's a palpable and symbiotic relationship. The fans know the players are champions and have full belief that they will witness a victory every time they walk into the arena. The players know the supporters have full belief, and they want to achieve more every time they play.
There's a difference between supporting the team and coming to the arena with full enthusiasm compared to walking in and expecting a win.
In the first example, the support of the fans helps the team reach the heights every time it takes the court. In the second, the fans are asking the team to prove itself in every game and delivering a burden of heavy expectations.
The majority of Warriors fans are in the former category, and they have helped their team achieve greatness.
The Warriors began as the Philadelphia Warriors in 1946-47, and they remained in the City of Brotherly Love through 1961-62 and the team won two NBA titles while it was located there.
The franchise was shifted to the West Coast and became the San Francisco Warriors, and they played most of their games at the Cow Palace in San Francisco through the 1970-71 season.
However, they started playing some of their home games in Oakland in 1966. They eventually changed their name to the Golden State Warriors in 1971-72, and that's when they made the Oakland Coliseum Arena their full-time home.
The building's name was changed to the Oracle Arena in 2006.
Prior to the current team that has brought home titles in 2015 and 2017, the only previous championship won by Golden State came in 1974-75. The Warriors upset the Washington Bullets in four straight games in the NBA Finals.
Management had no expectations of a title run that year, and the Warriors had to go back to the Cow Palace to play their NBA Finals home games since their own arena had been booked for other events.
The Warriors had some fine teams in the ensuing years, but their best sides could not get out of the Western Conference playoffs. Throughout the 1980s, they simply had no answer for the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns, but the atmosphere in the arena was always challenging for visiting teams.
Fans have always been loyal to the team, even in the years before they were plentiful in numbers.
The predominant color at Oracle Arena is a bold shade of yellow. California Golden Yellow, to be specific.
That's an unusual primary color for a sports team, although it has brought the Lakers quite a bit of success throughout the decades.
The border of the floor at Oracle is yellow and so are key areas. The seats are yellow, and yellow t-shirts are regularly handed out to the fans.
It's a dizzying experience for opposing players who see the unusual look every time their gaze shifts to the fans in the stands.
While the home team has adapted to the environment quite well, visiting teams have had major problems.
Oracle Arena is in the heart of the Tech Revolution, and the Bay Area is often thought of as the home of the genteel wine-and-cheese crowd.
But there is another side to crowds in the Bay Area, and it comes to the fore with its pro sports teams.
San Francisco Giants fans are raucous, and Oakland A's supporters are known for their ardor when the team is at the top of its game. Sharks fans in nearby San Jose are renowned for their explosive noise when the team in involved in a crucial playoff series.
However, Warriors fans are the loudest in the region and among the noisiest at any arena in the country. A decibel reading of 110 was recorded in 2013, which is similar to a jet flying over at 1,000 feet, according to Sports Illustrated.
It has remained at or near that level, and the din makes it that much harder for visiting teams. Some of it may have to do with the building itself, as it has a low roof and concrete surfaces, which results in sound that ricochets throughout the arena.
The End Is in Sight
The Warriors will be leaving the Oracle and moving back to San Francisco to a luxurious new building called the Chase Center in the Mission Bay area of the city.
The Warriors are expected to open the 2019-20 season in their new home. While that building will have all the amenities any fan could want—including enhanced internet bandwidth, gourmet food and music concerts by top stars—it will not be the old arena.
That's why these last two seasons at Oracle should be something to remember. Fans and the team want to make every game an experience for anyone who enters the building.
It has always been loud and intimidating, and it should be even more so over the next two seasons.