Chris Mullin’s jersey retirement ceremony tonight started off as a grand celebration of the great player that he was and what he did for the Warriors organization. Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and others all spoke about Mullin’s hard work, dedication, and devotion to the fans. After, Chris Mullin gave his acceptance speech and thanked his teammates, coaches, NBA commissioner, David Stern, and the fans for his memorable years in the Warriors organization. Many times, he alluded to the fact that the Warriors have the best fans in the NBA and that their dedication and support was overwhelming. How ironic that the following minutes would completely reject everything Mullin said.
Greg Papa, the host of the ceremony, introduced Warriors owner, Joe Lacob, after Mullin spoke, and almost immediately after Papa gave the microphone to Lacob, the fans started booing significantly louder than they had cheered at any point during the entire first half of the game. Lacob looked into the crowd with an utterly confused and stunned look. Was it solely because Lacob had just recently traded away the Warriors “best” player, Monta Ellis? It didn’t seem like it. Most Warriors fans seemed to like the trade because it signified that Stephen Curry is the future of this team. The fact that the boos went on for so long and were so loud suggests that it was the result of a history of poor decisions and false hope. Fans must be fed up with the fact that Lacob always wants to be in the spotlight, he is constantly promising things to fans that simply won’t and don’t happen, he is overusing the phrase “culture change,” and up to this trade deadline, hasn’t followed through on making bold moves, and more importantly, hasn’t proved he knows what the right move is.
As the booing continued, Twitter exploded with opinions. Tim Kawakami, a sports columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, tweeted, “Joe Lacob looked stunned that he was almost booed off the floor at Mullin’s ceremony. Think that was pent-up frustration, but… my goodness.” Marcus Thompson, a Warriors beat writer, tweeted, “I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS,” and then later tweeted, “Joe Lacob can blame himself for that. You NEVER talk after the guest of honor. … He wanted that shine, that’s why he went last.” Scott Mizuno, another Warriors beat writer, said, “I don’t condone the booing of Lacob, but that’s the risk you take when you want to be an owner in the spotlight. That’s the risk you take when you promise playoffs with an extremely flawed roster. That’s the risk you take when you fail to understand just how deep the hate for the previous regime goes.” Lastly, the official WarriorsWorld Twitter posted, “Fans paid their money, they can boo whoever the hell they want to.”
Although this booing is warranted, it was definitely unexpected. Warriors fans didn’t seem completely enthusiastic about Lacob, but the severity of the boos was definitely an interesting turn of events. This must have been surprising for Lacob especially because it seemed as if he had a distorted view of reality. Lacob must have believed that the fans loved him and thought that he would turn this organization around. Talk about a rude awakening. I wouldn’t have booed Lacob solely because of the Monta trade. I would’ve booed him because he simply hasn’t been a good owner. He needs to stop promoting a “culture change” and giving false hope to fans. If he makes the right moves and completes smart trades, the fans will respond accordingly. Results are more important than bold statements.