July 1, 2016

Warriors Pride is Here to Stay

A curator muses on the record-breaking home team and hometown pride

By Suzanne Fischer, associate curator of history

With contributions from Christine Lashaw

I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to absorb the Golden State Warriors’ unexpected, up-to-the-final seconds loss in this year’s NBA Finals. Luckily for us, the Oakland Museum of California had the chance to open a new installation in the Gallery of California History that gives us space to explore what it means to be proud of the team and The Town, even when we don’t take the trophy home.

Warriors Pride, Oakland Pride has its roots in the Warriors’ 2015 NBA Championship. The Warriors made celebratory championship rings, with jewels representing wins and details echoing the architecture of Oracle Arena. A ring was gifted to the City of Oakland, and the Mayor’s Office loaned it to the Museum where our visitors can come together to celebrate Oakland’s victory. With the help of our partners at the Warriors Community Foundation, we also borrowed three pairs of players’ shoes, a signed “510” jersey from the 2015 season, and a signed basketball from the 2016 season. 

Opening Friday, June 17—right after the series-tying Game 6—the installation invites visitors to respond to the question, “What makes you proud of the Warriors?” Even after the outcome of Game 7, visitor comments were still hopeful and celebratory, expressing pride in the team’s record-breaking season and their admirable grace and teamwork on the court:

“They play as a team. When one is down another rises. A good metaphor for life!”

 “I love watching how much fun they have playing as a team! And I love that they inspire my son.”

“They represent just one of the many beautiful things coming out of Oakland right now and surprising the world. Continuation/beginning of change.”

“The Warriors are seeds growing a victorious Oakland, building community with teamwork, compassion, determination, persistence, and honor.”

Visitors’ comments are on the whole optimistic and good-natured—and thoughtful about the future of Oakland, a place that is rapidly changing, for better and for worse. And even as they faced disappointment with this year’s NBA Finals, the team acted the way they always do—exemplifying grit and tenacity just like Oaklanders do.

As a visitor put it, the Warriors are “great champions even when they lose—NEXT YEAR!”