Stephen Curry, Warriors Named Franchise of the Decade by Sports Business Journal

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry gestures after making a 3-point basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors have been named the franchise of the decade by the Sports Business Journal (h/t Jabari Young of CNBC) after winning three titles and playing in five consecutive NBA Finals. 

The Warriors also saw their valuation skyrocket over the past 10 years. Team governors Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the team for $450 million in November 2010, and as of February 2019, the organization was reportedly worth $3.5 billion, per Forbes, making it the third-most valuable franchise in the NBA behind the New York Knicks ($4 billion) and Los Angeles Lakers ($3.7 million).  

The end of the decade also saw the construction of the Chase Center in San Francisco, with the Warriors playing their first season in the new venue during the 2019-20 campaign. The building is one factor in the Warriors becoming a revenue generator unlike potentially any other franchise in the NBA, with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami reporting in October that the Warriors are projected to rake in $700 million of revenue annually.

As Kawakami wrote: "This [is] about $250-300 million more than the Knicks or Lakers, the next-highest NBA teams, and possibly more than even any NFL team, 'except maybe the Dallas Cowboys,' one source said. Actually, in 2018, Forbes estimated that the Cowboys took in about $950 million in annual revenue, so the Warriors aren’t there."

Maybe not, but the Warriors are doing just fine on that front.

They also changed basketball. Perhaps no player has changed the game more in recent memory than Curry, whose elite three-point shooting helped usher in an age of floor-spacing and a new emphasis on generating offense from three-pointers and shots close to the basket at the expense of less efficient mid-range jumpers. 

Curry has five of the top nine seasons on the list of most three-pointers made in a single season, setting an NBA record in the 2015-16 campaign with 402 makes from beyond the arc. Only two players, Curry and Houston Rockets star James Harden, have ever made 300 or more threes in a single season. Curry has done so three times. 

That made Curry a two-time MVP and one of the defining players of the decade, joining LeBron James. It also changed the Warriors. 

"When your best player is not only the athlete and talent that he is but also the person that he is, you've got a heck of a head start in trying to create something special," team president Rick Welts told Young.

The Warriors also boasted arguably the greatest collection of talent ever assembled when Kevin Durant signed with the team in the summer of 2016, joining Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. With Durant, the team won two straight titles and became one of the most formidable dynasties in league history, emerging as the league villains in every other NBA city.

That dynasty had an abrupt end, with injuries to Durant and Thompson in the NBA Finals contributing to the Toronto Raptors winning last year's NBA Finals. Durant than chose to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Thompson may be out for the season as he recovers from a torn ACL, Curry broke his left hand early this year, and the Dubs have limped to a 5-23 record. 

The decade will end on a sour note. But there's no question that the Warriors dominated the NBA, changed basketball forever and emerged as one of the most lucrative franchise in all of sports over the past 10 years.