On an evening of basketball that was meant to honor one of the greatest Warriors in team history, resentment and ill will from the fan base towards current ownership overshadowed it all.
It was Chris Mullins night. This was a time to honor a man who gave 13 years of his life to the Golden State Warriors franchise. Mullin is a hall-of-fame player who deserved this moment to celebrate his career and retire his #17 jersey forever.
This turned out to be anything but a celebration.
When current Warriors owner Joe Lacob took the microphone to say a few words about Mullin, the fans in attendance let him have it.
Boos rained down like confetti on New Years Eve. It was awkward to watch.
It’s pretty safe to say that the Warriors fans are not loving the direction the team is going in.
It’s been almost a week since the team decided to trade away fan-favorite Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut (out for the remainder of the season, injury-prone) and Stephen Jackson (no longer with the team). That must have something to do with all of the hate towards Lacob.
Or maybe it’s because the team failed to land Dwight Howard at the deadline.
Or maybe it’s because they hired a coach who had more experience doing commentary on NBC and TNT than leading a team.
Or maybe it’s because ownership is thinking of taking the franchise out of Oakland.
Or maybe it’s because the team is in full tank mode now and has given up on the season.
Regardless of their reasoning, the fans showed their displeasure towards Lacob in a big way this night.
I’m all for freedom of speech and what not, but it would have been nice if the booing could have been saved for an occasion where someone wasn’t getting their career honored.
I felt for Mullin. He was very understanding of the situation and knew that the boos weren’t directed at him in any way, but it definitely took away from the festivities. Instead of Mullin being the big headline the next day, it was Lacob and the hatred directed at him from the fans.
That’s not right.
When Rick Barry took the court to address the fans in defense of Lacob, things became that much more awkward. It was like having your mom threaten you with no ice cream after dinner if you didn’t remain on your best behaviour.
Why was Lacob even making a speech in the first place? That spot should have been given to someone more closely related to Mullin and his career. Chris Cohan was running the team when Mullin was active as a player, not Lacob. It just seemed odd to me. I suppose he planned the event, so he does have that going in his favor.
Lacob took all of the booing in stride at least.
“I’m not going to let a few boos get me down and I don’t expect a few boos to get our team down. I think everybody has to stay tough. These are tough times. We are going to go out there, we are going to compete and we are going to win. And that’s my job as an owner, do everything we have to do. I’m not going to let a few boos stop us”.
I understand why it happened. I just wish it didn’t happen.
Chris Mullin deserved better.
But I guess the Warriors deserve better too.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports