Welcome back.

Welcome back to Warriors World. While we’re talking about Warriors World, how about this pristine website redesign?! Even Warriors World is more innovative than the Lakers.

Welcome back to the NBA. Welcome back to this wacky sport where the Philadelphia 76ers are being run like an uber long-term venture capital portfolio. Welcome back to the Sacramento Kings and their owner who has legitimately proposed that his team play defense with four players. Welcome back to everyone hating the Clippers*. Welcome back to a league where the Cleveland Cavaliers will likely pay more in luxury tax penalties than the 76ers will pay their fifteen active players, and welcome back to a league in which leading NBA writer Zach Lowe recently referred to Aaron Gordon as the NBA’s overexcited version of Tigger. Welcome back to an overlooked point guard who inspires us every day and just so happened to win a championship while doing it.

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

*Including their redesigned logo, which was created be the Miami Heat. Seriously, check it out.

Speaking of those Warriors, welcome back to your Golden State Warriors – your NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.

Now that we’ve watched the Warriors unveil their championship banner (and it is okay to admit it, I shed a few tears too), I do not want to talk about the intricacies of defensive rotations or even whether the Warriors will repeat as champions this season. I will get to that stuff in due time. Instead, I want to focus on something larger -something less absolute than winning or losing. I want to talk about sports, fandom, and how dedicating part of our life to a watching a game can sometimes feel like an inconsequential pursuit. I know, that topic sounds exponentially less fun than big rings, but stay with me.

I am admittedly in that uniquely college stage of life in which you question everything, so by no means am I professing my questions to be your questions. But, maybe, a small part of you has asked the same thing. Is it a fault in our character that we devote so much of our lives to something that can feel as inherently trivial as sports?

Sports carry a unique place in society. They are a man-made construct that millions of people devote themselves to -some devote their life, others a couple hours every two or three days. All for something that as the YMCA parent says to their distraught first-grader after a crushing loss, is just a game. In a world with diseases to cure, injustices to stop, and poignant stories that’ll make your heart cry, devoting even a part of our life to sports can seem silly. At least, that’s what I was pondering before last night.

Then, TNT cut to the Warriors’ Ring Presentation Ceremony. My phone started buzzing: texts of “WE BACK” started arriving, #Warriorstwitter and all its glory reassembled on my Twitter feed, and the TV broadcast panned over the delirious Oracle crowd. Not only were the Warriors back, but the community they create for all of us was back.

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In a world optimized for the individual, the Warriors form something that has become increasingly rare: community.

In a world of on-demand TV shows, it is rare to find someone on the exact same episode of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones as you are. Forgotten are the days when you could gather in the break room and ask “can you believe what happened in last night’s episode?!”, and everyone would know exactly what you were referring to. Well, those days are forgotten with one exception: sports. As TV becomes increasingly stratified, sports remain constant in forging daily community.

Yet, like a Curry step-back three, the Warriors go one step deeper than building community – they give us something to identify with. Maybe you are struggling and need a comeback story for inspiration: follow Shaun Livingston, who after a 2007 injury was told that there was a chance his leg would be amputated. Maybe you are sacrificing a part of your life to lift up others and look to Andre Iguodala, the perennial starter who came off the bench all season before finally starting in Game Four of the Finals and eventually winning Finals MVP. Maybe your life is pretty good, but you are worried about losing your humble attitude: follow Steph Curry, who ended his MVP Speech with these words.

“I hope I inspire people all around the world to just be themselves, be humble, and be grateful for all the blessings in your life.”

I am just a college kid who spends more date nights concocting possible trades with ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine than going on actual dates, so I don’t know much but I do know this: When the Warriors take the court, when you walk by a fellow member of Dub Nation and you silently nod at each other, when you fist-pump at the television, you are a part of a community that you can identify with. Not to get too college philosophy class on you, but these communities – groups of people bound together by something we all care about – that make life worth living.

Maybe, instead of beginning this article with “Welcome back”, I should have opened with “Welcome home” -because that’s what this feels like.

Welcome home Warriors fans.

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports