Dame Lillard is a Blazers icon, but he grew up as a Warriors fan. Coming from Oakland, the Warriors were his team. His father had season tickets at a time when they weren’t so hard to get. From ’99-’02 when they went to the games, Golden State had a losing record and was one of the worse teams in the league.
The Warriors he cheered on were Larry Hughes, Antwan Jamison, and Gilbert Arenas among others. Things were so loose back then he snuck his way to the locker room and grabbed a Troy Murphy jersey, which he later put back. Golden State didn’t have direction or vision, and you could feel it in the arena.
Despite all the bandwagon comments, Oracle always had a good reputation, and their fans were respected around the league. Always loud, knowledgeable about the game – a fun place to come and play ball. It is not uncommon that a team that sucks has great fans. Usually, it means cheaper tickets which bring blue-collar workers in the arena, willing to support a losing team. A kind of fan that understands the game and loves his team. A fan like Damian Lillard, his father, brother, and cousins. In an interview for The Mercury News, Dame compared fans from his youth and today:
“They’re upset about it. It’s one of those things where success comes and you’re going to up and move,” Lillard said. “A lot of the real Warriors fans, a lot of times they can’t go to the games. They can’t afford it. At that time, we were able to go to the games. Nowadays, a really good ticket is way more expensive to do everything. The people who are real Warriors fans aren’t able to get into the games.”
The move to downtown San Francisco will only accentuate this phenomenon. Success comes at a high price, in this case quite literal. All the predictions say that even if the Warriors sign all 4 All-Stars to super-max contracts and have to pay a gazillion dollars in luxury tax, they would probably be able to do it with the expected revenue from the new arena. But, you price out the loudest, most passionate fans — the ones that stuck by you when you sucked.
Dame also shared an interesting fact in the story – every halftime he and his family would sneak into the media room and treated themselves to hot-dogs and beverages.
“I’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to be back there,” Lillard said, laughing. “But security was so whatever. We literally did the same thing every game.”
Last night he played his last game at Oracle, in his hometown. If there was any doubt, he left on a high note, scoring 21 with a dagger in overtime to seal the win.