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Why did Warrior fans boo?

Mar 20, 2012, 10:36 AM EDT

Joe Lacob AP

The timing was uncomfortable for everyone — it was supposed to be a night about Chris Mullin. One of the legends of the Golden State Warriors, the Hall of Fame player and former team GM, getting his number retired.

But instead, it will be known as the night Warriors fans unloaded on team co-owner Joe Lacob, booing him mercilessly.

Why? It’s complex. The trade of Monta Ellis — the popular scoring two-guard — for the oft-injured Andrew Bogut was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That move was not generally popular in the Bay Area.

But it’s more than just that. Ray Ratto put it this way at

Now (Lacob) gets the picture. Nobody escapes while the team is not winning. Nobody gets a pass for good intentions. Six playoff appearances in 36 years, and one in 18, shout far louder than a public relations gesture triggered by a generous spirit.

It really but it comes back to this:

Golden State fans have been some of the most passionate in the league for decades and have suffered through decades of Chris Cohen ownership that would have been the worst in the league had Donald Sterling not lapped the field. They have made the playoffs once in the last 18 seasons and thrown the towel in on this one.

The sins of the father have come to the son. Lacob may have worked to change the Warriors culture since he and Peter Guber bought the team — that includes reconnecting with Mullin, being more accessible to fans, trying to make the team more defense oriented, bringing in Marc Jackson — but until the Warriors actually start winning and showing the changes are working it will not matter.

There is a sense Lacob talks a good game but cannot walk the walk.

Eric Freeman, a Bay Area resident who has followed the Warriors for years, summed the feelings up well at Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie.

The Ellis trade was certainly a factor in the uproar, but it exists in a context that explains the boos much better. For one thing, Lacob’s reaction to the trade has been questionable at best, with him already referring to it as a “transcendent deal that is going to change everything” and comparing it to the Celtics’ trade for Kevin Garnett in 2007. Every other reaction to the trade has been considerably more measured, with those in favor looking at it as one step in a long process and the detractors, like me, viewing it as exchanging one form of mediocrity for another. Either way, Lacob’s rationale for the deal is ludicrous, a response that either proves he has little knowledge of the sport or suggests he thinks very little of his fan base.

Simply put, there’s a growing feeling among the fan base that Lacob is more about talk than results. In little more than a year, he has promised the playoffs, only to steer the team towards tanking for draft position; suggested that real fans buy season tickets; hired a head coach with no experience at any level of the sport beyond an impressive playing career; talked up Klay Thompson as a Rookie of the Year candidate before he’d played a preseason game; and told anyone who’ll listen that everything is going fine. On top of that, he supported the lockout (which, whether with merit or not, robbed fans of games and led to a bizarre season). So, when Lacob took the stage at a ceremony honoring a player he had no involvement with whatsoever, the whole moment seemed a little off. If he had a better sense of Warriors’ fans outlook on the team, he might have stayed away entirely and cheered Mullin along with everyone else.

Does that excuse the Warriors fans ruining Chris Mullin’s moment? No. The timing for expressing their displeasure was poor.

But Lacob took the microphone AFTER Mullin spoke. That’s bad form. And if he didn’t know before he knows now that he has a passionate fan base, but one that expects a lot more than just platitudes. They want change. They want to see real change.

  1. cakemixa - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Seriously, whats the big deal? The owner of a team that hasn’t been successful as of late was boo’ed after trading one of the team’s most popular players? Wow!

  2. starks3 - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    This situation reminds me of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates are on their 10th five year plan, (wink wink). They would trade their best players for “prospects” that ownership would say are the next big thing. Well on the verge of 20 straight losing seasons you get the picture. This is the same crap Warriors ownership has been saying too, and guess what, those fans paid for a ticket and have every right to boo a terribly ran franchise. Lacob is lucky there are still fans in the seats to boo him.

    • florida727 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      Couldn’t agree more. If the fans are that upset, why do they still go to games? Want to send a nice, loud, clear message to ownership? Stop showing up. Stop paying for parking. Stop buying concessions. Stop buying team gear. Stop supporting team sponsors. Stop watching the team on TV. Believe me, it won’t take long for ownership to get the hint.

      “Why did Warriors’ fans boo?” Answer seems pretty obvious.

  3. gpatrick15 - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Maybe he should talk to Stern about being booed. He’s been booed for years, he’s immune to it now.

  4. alexb64 - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    It does suck that Mullin’s night was ruined but I think that happened the moment Lacob decided he needed to be involved in this. It’s one thing if you’re the elderly, beloved owner of a team or even (anyone but Sterling at least) one with a hot & cold relationship with the fans but has owned the team for decades there’s some respect that will be given. This guy has barely been around & the only thing of note he did was trade a very popular player for an injury riddled center, which was (speaking of bad timing) not even 24 hours after saying Ellis would only be traded to Orlando if Dwight Howard came back in return. This is like me as a kid saying I would only trade my Griffey Jr. rookie card for a Greg Maddux rookie card, then next day dealing it for a 1988 Wally Backman card.

    He has no history with the organization & certainly had no business being out there TALKING on Chris Mullin’s night, and certainly not so soon after signing off on such a hated deal. That’s the problem with the new generation of owners though, that’s WHY they buy teams. It isn’t just wanting to win, it brings them the access to stars that just being a rich businessman wouldn’t & making them, in their minds, stars as well because of the prominent status that should, in their minds, go hand in hand with owning the team. Mark Cuban might get cheered in that situation because of his noted passion not to mention how he completely changed the culture of that franchise & not just saying that’s what he wanted to do. Fans know Mark Cuban gives a damn & when he interjects & makes himself center of attention they’ll bite their tongues.

  5. airjunior23 - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Thank you Warriors fans!!! Monta has played his ass off only to be traded for mediocrity.

  6. SOBEIT - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    So sad to see Mullins night ruined like this because I became a fan of basketball because of watching Mullin and Hardaway play…and a little of Mitch Richmond because he was only around for 2 years. As a lifelong Warriors fan and one that grew up with the Warriors from the RunTMC days and one that stopped watching the team after the Ellis & Udoh trade, I have to say that Lacob and the rest of the ownership just don’t get it. They thought they understood why the fans were upset with Cohan. They thought if they were just a different type of owner who was visible and accessible that the fans would love them. But what the fans were saying last night is that the ownership just doesn’t get it.

    The fans believe that Lacob and the rest of the ownership are not one of us. The fans wanted Ellison as the new owner. We feel that Ellison is a Warrior fan who gets it. But Cohan made sure to give the fans one last jab before walking out the door…selling to current ownership group and not Larry Ellison even though Ellison made the higher bid.

    List of events that made Lacob hated by fans: playoff promises (to tanking to keep lottery pick), no amnesty for Biedrens contract, trading Ellis and Udoh, Jackson as the coach, moving the team to SF rumors, trading for Bogut who is always injured, not trading Curry who is always injured, making trade promises for a true center only to fail at all of them because they did not realize that players do not want to play for Warriors until the culture has changed, not just ownership (ie proving ownership does not know the history and frustration to be a Warrior fan and franchise), etc. Basically, ownership proved to be no better than Cohan when it came to results. Different philosophy, same results.

    At the end of the day, winning, playoffs and championship are the only things that will change the fan perception of ownership. Patience has apparently run out.

    I am upset that Mullin’s night was ruined. It should not have gone down that way. He is my favorite Warrior! But you don’t have many chances as a fan to let owners know how they truly feel. Lacob and Gruber now know. The rest of ownerhip knows. The honeymoon is over…and a legend like Mullin could not stave off the built up frustration by fans.

    • jrod2173 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      A lot of what you said was true. But the Monta trade should have no relevance in booing him because it was great trade. Rarely can u trade a small for a big, and an All Star to boot. Now was Bogut hurt? Yes. But that’s the reason he was available. The overall trade (after both trades) was Monta, Udoh, Kwame for , Jefferson and a first round pick. That is a pretty solid trade, especially since we already have a replacement beeing groomed for Monta’s spot. That gives us a line up of Bogut, Lee, Wright (hopefully someone else), Klay and Steph. Obviously this is all based on health, but that is a far better lineup than we trotted out this year. Now if we keep losing, which I hope we do because we won’t and wouldn’t have done anything in the playoffs anyway, we can keep our top pick. That gives us 2 first round picks and a solid core to build around.

      Now was all the empty promises Lacob gave us worth booing for as far as playoffs, and all star, etc? Maybe. But what the hell is the guy supposed to say? We aren’t making the playoffs and don’t have an all star on the team so lower your expectations. Lol, I don’t think so. I am as frustrated as everyone else that we can put a winner on the floor and compete year in and year out. But this trade is a great step in the right direction and we will be a playoff team next year, and we draft well enough possibly a solid contender.

      • jrod2173 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        The trade was Monta, Udoh, And Kwame for Bogut, Jefferson and first* sorry was doing this on my phone

      • SOBEIT - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM

        You can rationalize the trade and that’s fine. But we keep hearing when Steph and Bogut are on the floor at the “same time”. How often will that be? A couple months per season? How many games has Bogut played per year on average? How many has Curry played since joining the league. My point being just because he is an All Star caliber center means nothing if he is not on the floor. Having a potential All Star in Curry means nothing if he is not on the floor. And so far, both players have shown that they will be off the floor more than they will be on the floor together.

        But nothing about last night was rational. Normally, Warrior fans would not have done what they did last night. Last night was about cold hard reality. The ticket buying fans have reached their tipping point.

        Yes, the reality is that we need a strong center. But to give up Udoh who was our only bright spot at PF or C and we give him up? He did not have to be included in the deal to get Bogut. Ellis for Bogut straight up would have done the trick. I would rather lose the draft pick we got from Bucks than lose Udoh who is a 2nd year player. Now we have to suffer through another season of Jefferson to boot. Poor trade by ownership which is scrambling to make a positive difference. This reeks desperation or incompetence…both are not good traits so early in their new roles.

        Bottom line is that this is more than about 1 or 2 moves by the new owners. It is about years of frustration finally being released. Cohan was in hiding for a reason. The fans would have unloaded on him mercilessly if Cohan were visible. The Monta/Udoh trade was just the final straw.

        Unfortunately, it ruined the night for Mullin and probably closed the door on a similar ceremony for Hardaway, Richmond or any other player who should be finally honored because Cohan was an idiot owner who neglected the history of the franchise.

  7. ninerfan94954 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Rude…yes….ill timed…yes…embarrassing to a wonderful player on his night…yes.. but the 99% of loyal TICKET BUYING WARRIOR FANS got a chance to tell the 1% ownership group how they feel. I believe it’s called a teachable moment… awkward as it was.

    • thraiderskin - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      is that the same 99% who buy foreign made cars then complains about US companies not investing more into the country? I don’t imagine that 99% of the Warrior’s fans would have been such jackasses on a very special night for an amazing player.

  8. yournuts - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I’m not a big Warrior fan, but I see that they have moved in a direction of respectability. Warrior fans can’t see that Bogut is the answer for them for years to come. Monta and Steph as a backcourt combo is talented but the team is sub 500 with that combination. You need a big man in order to win in the NBA. I love the way that Mark Jackson has the Warriors playing. The Warriors may have made the deal of the year in the NBA, it’s to bad that the Warrior fan’s are not able to realize basketball talent.
    The current ownership is trying to restore pride to the Warriors. A team that has won the NBA Championship one time in their history. Joe Lacob is the best thing that has happened to the Warriors. He brings in Jerry West, and Mark Jackson to change the culture, and the magic starts to happen for the Warriors and the fans are to blind to see it. If you want to compete then you need a big guy like Bogut. Bogut is a well-rounded center. He can score in the post, shoot from midrange, block shots, run the floor well and pass like a guard. In 2010, he was a third-team All-NBA selection. When healthy, Bogut ranks as one the “top two or three” centers in the league.

    Health is the only concern for the Warriors. When Boget gets on the floor and Steph Curry is finally healthy the Warriors will not only compete but be a force.

    • SOBEIT - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      Well we have seen what happens to a franchise when you invest in unhealthy players…can you say Portland Trailblazers. You can have all the talent and god given traits you want…but if you are too fragile to stay on the floor, what good are those long list of benefits?

  9. jimeejohnson - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    They booed because it’s easier to be negative than positive. That said, the fans paid good money for their tickets and they have every right, whether classy or not, to express their opinions. That does not make what the fans did right.

  10. 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Hope Stephen Ross saw this

  11. thraiderskin - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    wow… that was embarassing… I couldn’t even watch the whole thing. Of all the time to show your displeasure, its during a jersey retirement, that is philadelphia low, perhaps lower. The big difference there is that I expect that garbage in philadelphia, not when Mullins is being honored in california. I really hope the bay area loses its team, doubt Seattle would have done that.

  12. wilsonsoriano - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Last night I was ashamed to be a Warrior’s fan, no class, Rick Barry told it like it is! It was a diservice to Warriorland. Acted as hoodlums by ruining Chris Mullin’s night. Warrior land Monta had to go not this year, he had to two or three years ago, (the same as Andris Biedrins and Larry Riley) Monta had punched out his card from the Warriors a couple of years ago, didn’t you see his demeanor? He was negatively influenced by Baron Davis and Stack Jack. Yes, it did hurt in the beginning to see him go, but how much longer were you going to bare and cope with going nowhere playing small ball. Besides, although, Monta was most of the time great, he would disappear at times, particularly at the end of games. Never should the Warrior land be any happier than now, I know the tendency is to have a quick fix, but with the Warrior’s past ownership mistakes, the only way to build a championship caliber team is by acquiring somebody at Andrew Bogut’s stature and build the team around him. The injury of Andrew Bogut is a blessing in disguise, never in our dreams would we ever had a chance to acquire Andrew Bogut at such a cheap price as now. The only way to to make up for past mistakes is by zeroing in on the future while putting key pieces in the present. With the line up we have now, we definitely have playoff team next year and the years to come. Booing Co-owner Lacob last night was a great mistake, he is not the one to blame, Larry Riley and Cowen are the ones to blame. Larry Riley should be booed off of Warrior land everywhere he goes. He has blown it all the way through up until the Monta’s trade for Andrew Bogut. Is the only decision I’d give him credit for and is not even his credit, is the new management’s credit. You cannot blame Lacob for the Monta Ellis decision, management brought him the overall consensus of management approving of the trade and he was presented with the trade and although he had the last word to approve or disapprove the trade, he was left with no choice but to approve it, because after all, it will prove to be the best move the Warriors have ever made. Take this to the bank, WArriors are making to the playoff with Bogut, Curry,Lee, Thompson. and the rest of the other players. I don’t see Dorrell Wright here next year, he has punched out this year. I see Andris Biedrins being the amnesty guy next year. I love the rest of the team, we have mental toughness now and will compete.

    • SOBEIT - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      Is Larry Riley still employed by the Warriors? Yes. Who makes those decisions? The owners! By the way, the previous owners name is Cohan.

      Also, a team can only use the amnesty once in a 10 year period. The next time the Warriors can amnesty a player is 2022. And we used ours on Charlie freakin Bell for $4.1M contract!!! I think Beans is getting paid like $11M for less than 2 pts per game average.

      And there is so much that is incorrect with your post I don’t have time to address them all.

  13. myktuggle - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    This guy has a large bank account big a bigger ego. Im not a Warriors fan, but watching the footage yesterday it was apparent that this man has a Napoleon complex. News flash billionaire, the fans were there before you and will be there looooong after you. Just cause you have cash DON’T mean you know “What’s best for a team.” Just ask my main man AND BASKETBALL LEGEND MJ. Deal with it.

  14. narlo00 - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    The fans had every right to boo. We pay their salaries for crying out loud. I’d be pissed if my team was terrible for all those seasons. I can’t imagine being a season ticket holder for them. That deadline deal they made and the reports Curry might be shut down are just the icing on the cake.

  15. helinhater - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    It’s a catch-22.

    Many of you are saying “Well, why not put your displeasure into practice by not going to games. That will show them!”

    But what you fail to consider is that this is a business. And these men don’t care whether the paying fans are in Oakland or Seattle or Kansas City, etc.

    So the fans are stuck between yanking their support and then watching a beloved franchise move due to a lack of local support…Or staying faithful to the brand while taking every opportunity to send a message.

    What Lacob needs to take from this is to shut up. Stop trying to engender good will by piggybacking off a Golden State legend. Stop talking. Start walking.

    The scary part is, for a very successful man, it appears he has no concept of PR and how to use it to his advantage.

    Deep down, I’m afraid GSW fans are stuck, once again, with an owner who doesnt understand the sport and doesnt relate to the passion of the fans.

    Which is sad because that is one fan base that deserves so much more.

  16. somekat - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    If this happened in Philly, people would be all over their fans

    The double standard shows itself once again

  17. nokoolaidcowboy - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    It was hilarious! Why should owners be allowed to hide? This dude was shaking. Owners want to strut and pose, well there you have it. The masses have spoken!

    I hope this catches on.

  18. djlexluger - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Let us not forget the fact that Mullin was on the outs with Warrior Franchise until Lacob took over ownership.

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