By: Jesse Taylor
Two times in 19 years. That’s life as a Warriors fan. Two playoff appearances since 1994.
When things take place that infrequently, it merits comparison between the episodes. Like Lindsay Lohan comparing those two times she’s been sober.
2007 and 2013. Two Warriors playoff teams. A team of choir boys. A team of bad boys. Two versions of Andris Biedrins.
The Good, The Bad And The Biedrins.
How different are these two teams? Let start at the top and make our way down.
One never talked or appeared in public. The other can’t shut up or stay out of the spotlight. Despite this, I’ll take Joe Lacob by 100 miles and running. He’s done an excellent job creating the foundation of a solid basketball operations team. The other owner let the inmates run the asylum and the top inmate valued “A Great Timeout” over “A Great Team.”
I need to tell a story here.
I know someone who used to be a PR intern for the Warriors back in the Run TMC era. Part of his job was to go into both team’s locker rooms shortly before the start of each game to retrieve the starting lineups. For most teams, this meant walking into the locker room and finding the head coach, who was usually drawing up plays on the white board. The intern transcribed the starting five from the coach to then deliver to the official scorekeeper.
But with Don Nelson, the intern’s job was always an adventure. Most times, Nellie was drinking a beer, and conversationally yelling and cursing with his coaches and players. But on some occasions, notice I said “some” because this happened more than once, the intern would search the locker room only to be directed by the equipment manager to the exact whereabouts of Nelson.
The intern would follow the directions back into the bathroom, hesitating as he squealed, “Coach?”
“In here, young fella!” barked Nelson.
From inside the bathroom stall.
Seeing only his shoes and drawn down belt and trousers, each time the intern would back step while saying, “I can wait.”
Each time Nelson answered with, “No need. I got my five.”
Nelson would then rattle off his starting lineup while sitting on the toilet. He’d end it with, “Can you grab me a beer and slip it under the door before you go?”
Now, can you imagine Mark Jackson doing that? Pastor Jackson?
One coach was the yelling, cursing, drinking, starting-lineup-shit-taking rabble-rouser who couldn’t get along with some of his key players. Mainly because he couldn’t stop saying bad things about them. He also sported a messy look that was closer to a drunk exiting a pub around 2 a.m. than a dapper Pat Riley clone.
The other coach refuses to say a bad word about his players, refuses to say bad words in general, doesn’t drink, won’t yell, dresses sharp and oozes the cool, calm, collectedness of George Clooney at the Oscars.
This is like the difference between Arthur and William’s two high school teams in Hoop Dreams. The public school versus the private school. The kids from the ‘hood versus the kids from the ‘burbs. The Jets and the Sharks. The Greasers and the Socs. Allen Iverson versus the Hampton Virginia Bowling Alley.
(say with Ice Cube accent) BD, Captain Jack, J-Rich, Big Al, Monta, Barnes.
(say with an Urkel accent) Steph, Plain Jack, David, Klay, Harrison, Andrew, Carl, Festus.
One group shot up strip clubs, bashed teammates, threatened police officers, got DUIs, who-rided mopeds and slept with Warriors employees.
The other group speaks politely, preaches against strip clubs, attends prayer meetings, reads books on the team plane, grew up in privileged households, got laughed at by math geeks and sleeps only with one girl at a time.
The dots, however, don’t align perfectly.
The bad boys had Adonal Foyle and Mickael Pietrus.
The choir boys have Jarrett Jack and Draymond Green. One of those guys was banging headboards in the room adjacent to Andrew Bogut on a recent road trip.
What can you say here except one was good and one is bad. One had spikey hair and one has nerdy hair. One made earned decent money and one makes ridiculously amazing unearned money. Both miss free throws.
They’re like my kids. They are different in so many ways, but I love them both the same. Except Chris Cohan of course. That’s like if you had Damien for a kid. Send him to a foster home.