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Warriors fans hijack Mullin number retirement to boo owner

Mar 20, 2012, 1:59 AM EDT

I’ve never seen a number retirement ceremony go badly before.

I have now. Chris Mullin was having his number retired by the Golden State Warriors Monday night, but when owner Joe Lacob took the microphone — right after Mullin — fans unleashed a torrent of boos. You can see it in the video above.

Why? Apparently for some it is the Monta Ellis trade for Andrew Bogut, a move disliked by many fans in the Bay Area. Ellis was popular — scorers always are — and there is a sense that if they had to trade him they could have done better, that this was a sideways trade. At best.

But other people — such as Bay Area resident Eric Freeman of Ball Don’t Lie and The Classical — noted frustration from Warriors fans runs much deeper than just the deadline deal. They have issues such as Lacob promising change that the fans have yet to see (and fans are frustrated with the state of the franchise from far before this ownership, this team has gone to the playoffs once in the last 18 seasons). Or the feeling Lacob inserted himself into this night when he should have taken a back seat. Or Lacobs’s plans to move the team to a new, yet-to-be-built arena in San Francisco (they currently play across the bridge in Oakland). Besides, fans boo owners. There are maybe five in the NBA that if they stood at center court would not hear boos from the fans.

Lacob (and partner Joe Guber) purchased the Warriors last year and have spoke openly about changing the culture of a franchise. One of the things Lacob did change was bringing Mullin back into the fold of a franchise where he had been frozen out.

Watch the video above. When Lacob took the microphone to speak, he had to wait for the boos to subside. When he did speak the first thing he did was say, “now that we’ve got that out of the way…”

But the fans were not done and continued to boo through Lacob trying to talk about the new ownership embracing history. It got to the point that Mullin himself cane out and tried to calm the situation by saying that, “sometimes change is inevitable but it’s going to work out just fine.”

The boos did not stop, and the situation was exacerbated by Rick Barry taking his turn at the microphone to play the stern father and reprimand the fans for their treatment of Lacob and the timing. That was just gasoline on the fire.

After the game, Lacob said this to Marc Spears of Yahoo (via twitter):

“The fans are upset I guess that we traded one of our favorites. That’s all I can attribute that to. What I feel bad about is… they kind of ruined a night that was very special. The organization really tried to do the right thing with Chris.”

Fans can be frustrated with Lacob and Warriors ownership. But he’s right about the timing. Rather than talking more about Mullin and his fantastic Hall of Fame career, we are talking about the boos. That will be the story. This is what Chris Mullin’s jersey retirement will be remembered for. Which is too bad.

  1. rodgersmvp - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    Disappointing.

  2. rickeye9 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    was there tonight and I couldn’t believe it, We finally are headed Ina direction, something we have not been since mullin

  3. 69jaredallen69 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    If I was Lacob I wouldn’t plan on retiring Sprewell’s number anytime soon, he might go after him and give the fans what they want. Horrible way to honor a great career, there were numerous signs this could happen and Warriors should have assumed worse and kept ownership out of ceremony

    • sasquash20 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:13 PM

      You don’t have to worry about Spre getting his number retired he sucked

  4. rwmilli - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Stay classy ;)

  5. 69jaredallen69 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Seriously why do none of my comments ever post in NBA board yet they show up on every other?

    • rawgator06 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:43 AM

      I have no idea why none of your comments show up on this board

  6. bighurc89 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    As a Timberwolves fan, I say this is pathetic. We shipped our original NBA franchise to L.A. & they became the great Lakers. Since re-joining the NBA, we have had many heartbreaks & shortmings. No championship, horrible free agency periods, flop draft picks, we had to trade a fan favorite in KG, traded Ray Alle on draft day……. I WOULD NEVER BOO THE OWNER!! Why ruin an experience of going to a game?! Sometimes your organization makes a move you don’t like involving a player you do like, it might be because they are trying to make a change to better your team for the future. This is NOT NBA2K!

  7. 00maltliquor - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    Wooow. That was awkward.

  8. glink123 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    Stay classy, Warriors fans. Lol.

  9. danger19 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    Occupy Oakland took over the arena tonight.

  10. wirelessworldofsports - Mar 20, 2012 at 6:05 AM

    Those fans should be disgusted.

    This is an owner that stopped that team from moving and gave them hope.

    Bogut is a much better player than Monta Ellis. Hey at least he is going to stop someone defensively and put up some numbers.

    He wont score 40 points a game, but then again he is a team player, not a moron and not selfish.

    You should be grateful. I’ve been reading some of the disgusting comments and hate that has been sent to Bogut on twitter from fans of the Warriors and god help the Bay Area if those people are representative of the fan base. You have no hope.

  11. whosgotitbetter - Mar 20, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    The owner probably will be continued to be booed. I admit the timing was bad for the incident because of Mullys number being retired, but all Warrior fans are frustrated and confused. The Monta Ellis trade could be a good move for the franchise but the problem the fans have is that we will not know until next year. This is the way the trade looks to us, the Warriors traded away a borderline All Star who was 3rd in the league in scoring behind Kobe and Lebron, and a rising young defender/rebounder for 2 hurt guys (one retired) and a decent defender. Wouldnt you be atleast a lil angry at that?

    • wirelessworldofsports - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:18 AM

      No because you have to see the bigger picture.

      You have to lose to get better. It is a deep draft this year. You will already have a genuine PG and a good SG in Klay Thompson. You have David Lee at PF and you’ll then have Andrew Bogut at C. And through this process you’ll be able to draft a significant player high to help actually take this team to the next level…rather than being average and maybe just making the play-offs or just missing out.

      It is a calculated risk. And the only reason he was 3rd in the league in scoring is because he was shooting 75% of the time. He was an inefficient scorer and he was selfish. From all reports also not a great locker room guy either.

      Focus on the bigger picture….don’t focus on the doom and gloom

  12. purnellmeagrejr - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    I lived in the Bay area during the Rick barry-led championship seasonb. That was really a fun tam to watch

  13. slippyal2 - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    There is a time and a place to do this, this was neither.

  14. florida727 - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Someday maybe just one owner will realize that at ceremonies like this they need to sit back in their luxury suite and STFU. They are NOT professional speakers. Let the PA Announcer or the radio or television play-by-play guy or someone known for their speaking skills that does things like this FOR A LIVING handle the ceremony duties. It’ll come across more professionally and the player being honored won’t have to put up with what Mullin did. The occasion was absolutely RUINED because Locab likes to hear himself talk and feels he’s entitled to because of the size of his wallet.

    • wirelessworldofsports - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:39 AM

      Pretty sure he wanted to do it because he owns the team and wanted to honour Mullin.

      But feel free to continue carrying on like a porkchop and justifying that sort of behaviour.

    • southbeachtalent - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:07 AM

      I completely agree, owners should sit back and let the pro’s do their jobs.

  15. kylos13 - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    What did they expect.. It’s Oakland!

    Sincerely,
    Chargers Fan

  16. dccavalier - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Cames across the link to the story on Facebook.

    Wow….I thought we fans who root for the Wizards have it bad, but did I just read that the Warriors have made the playoffs just ONCE in 18 years? That can’t be right…can it?

    Also, isn’t this owner NOT the preferred owner the fans wanted when the team was put up for sale?

  17. nflinla - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    If I was the Warriors owner I’ll move the team.

  18. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    well that went over like a turd in a punch bowl. yikes!

  19. mannyicey - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Man, I need to take stock because I thought that was HEELARIOUS!!! I mean, the crowd turned on a dime when the owner came out. When they admonished the crowd to stop booing, the crowd cheered. But when the owner started to talk again, they started booing again!

    Wow! They really got their money’s worth. Oh, and I’m from the camp that believes that if you bought a ticket, you can boo all you want. You paid for it.

    I mean, the only people you don’t boo are kids and people that are hurt. Other than that, you are fair game.

  20. eazye76 - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    It certainly didn’t help that the announcer said “We’ve saved the best for last” when introducing the owner. Really? You’re retiring the number of the best player in team history and the owner is said to be the best part of the night?

  21. chicagofan - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    He deserved it for that trade–Bogut is a stiff and at least Ellis is an explosive scorer and can go off some nights.

    • sasquash20 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      When healthy Bogut is a solid defensive big man. Of course he is never healthy. Ellis is a scorer and a defensive liability. Would I have made the trade? No but I get it.

  22. sasquash20 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Wait they boo outside of Philly? I didn’t know that

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