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Change not always welcome, but most times is necessary

  • Nick Celario

Editor’s note: This column was written Thursday prior to the start of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

It’s finally here. Oracle Arena closed its doors to NBA games.

Whether the Golden State Warriors won or lost on Thursday, by the end of the season, the franchise will move out of its home of 47 years in Oakland and into its new, sterile, state-of-the-art arena across the Bay in San Francisco — the Chase Center.

Prior to the start of the regular season, I wrote a column about this being the last year of Warriors games at Oracle. Some of what I wrote was:

  • For most of my life, the only Warriors games that sold out was when Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers came to town. Other than that, tickets were pretty easy to come by.
  • I remembered how fans galvanized around the 2007 “We Believe” team that derailed the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs and Oracle Arena came to be known as “Roaracle”.
  • It’s amazing how this team went from the lovable losers of the league to now the standard of the NBA, especially because the organization did it organically by drafting stars like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson (at least up until the team signed Kevin Durant as a free agent in 2016).

Oracle Arena has seen its fair share of history, and the last chapter of that history book was written Thursday night.

For the Warriors fans that attended Oracle’s final game, especially those diehards who came to games despite losing season after losing season, I hope they enjoyed one last memorable experience with their team.

When the team broke ground in San Francisco a few year ago, I kind of took an “it is what it is” mentality to it. Yeah, it sucks, but at least they’ll still be around.

The team may be moving to the other side of the Bay, but at least it’s not moving out of the state for a new stadium — unlike a certain football team that shall remain nameless in this column that, too, will be leaving Oakland.

On Thursday, I read a column on ESPN about the Warriors’ move to the Chase Center. Most of it pretty much said that the new arena won’t be the same as Oracle. True.

Toward the end of the piece, though, it read:

“But it won’t be the same. Because the whole point of moving was to evolve and grow. To do what Silicon Valley companies have always done: Start small in a funky garage, build a killer product and scale up to bigger offices.

“The challenge is to hold on to the right things as you grow. To know what is essential, and what is simply nostalgia.”

That is true, too. Change is not always welcome, but it is most of the time necessary.

Kids don’t stay at home for most of their lives, right? They grow older, they become young adults and eventually leave home to further grow — go to college, pursue interests, start families, etc.

I will always proudly say that I am from San Jose, California. But the world is bigger than San Jose, and I eventually made my way to Kauai.

For a lot of recent high school graduates who will be headed off-island for college or other pursuits, I’m sure Kauai will always be home to them. But the world is bigger than Kauai, too.

So from that point of view, the Warriors leaving Oracle Arena is a bit more palatable.

Even the Lakers moved out of stadiums. The Forum will always be remembered for Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Showtime Era, but the team eventually moved out and into the Staples Center, and that move turned out well.

Lots of teams move to new stadiums. Even in new surroundings, we’ll always remember the good times. And I suppose Warriors fans will always have those memories from Roaracle even as they will start attending games at Chase Center.

I just hope for the fans sake, tickets won’t cost them an arm and a leg — but it probably will.

•••

Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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