This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
The Golden State Warriors prepared for their final push into the playoffs in an unlikely place. It wasn’t on the court during practice. It wasn’t during their recent 4-2 road trip. It was in a movie theater.
Harrison Barnes, Jermaine O’Neal, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli went to an advanced screening of 300: Rise Of An Empire in Oakland last night. The movie opens up in theaters nationwide today. You can learn more about the film at their Facebook or Twitter page.
OK, so maybe the Warriors didn’t physically prepare for the last six weeks of the season by sitting in a dark movie theater, but perhaps they gained some inspiration for their push to the playoffs.
The protagonist in the movie, Themistokles, is an inspiring, passionate leader who leads the Athenians into battle to protect their loved ones and their homeland of Greece.
At one point in the movie, he brings his troops together in order to inspire some confidence before a battle where the Athenians are greatly overmatched.
Themistokles says to his soldiers, more poetically than I can say, to not fight for a cause but rather for the man next to them.
The Warriors don’t find themselves in bloody battles, but they surely do play for each other and play as a team. Much like the Athenians, they have a truly unique team chemistry, bonded and united in “battle.”
Whether they are battling on the court or going to see a movie together, this Warriors team truly enjoys being around each other. In fact, the newest Warrior, Steve Blake, said he has always been impressed with how close the Warriors players are on and off the court.
Many of the Warriors players also share an underdog mentality, one of the reasons why this group gets along with each other so well. They’re a confident group, yet they’re often underestimated, just like the Athenians were.
Because of this never-say-die attitude, the Warriors constantly have to prove themselves. O’Neal reminded his teammates of this during a game against the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 3.
The Warriors were down by 17 at the half and were down by as many as 27 points during the third quarter. O’Neal felt the team needed a wake-up call. He passionately preached to his teammates at halftime about how this was the kind of game where they could make a statement.
He said that if they wanted to show that they’re an elite team in the NBA, they had to play like one. O’Neal channeled some of Themistokles’ ferocity when he told his teammates that they had to “dispose of the teams we’re supposed to dispose of and then grind like hell against the teams that are top-echelon-type teams.”
Unlike last season when the Warriors were able to sneak up on some of their opponents, the Warriors have had to play this season with hypothetical targets on their backs. The Warriors deserve to win, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to fight for it.
The Warriors undoubtedly have passion. They have the heart, the character, the loyalty, and the teamwork that great teams possess. They are the underdogs that rise to the occasion. They are the comeback kids. They are like the Athenians that don’t give up and that fight until the very end.
As metaphorical as this sounds, a simple outing to the movie theater between four teammates sheds some light on the Warriors’ impressive team chemistry, their determination, and their underdog mentality.
The roar of the soliders in the movie might not motivate them quite as much as the roar of the crowd at Oracle at any given home game. The viciousness displayed by the Persians in the movie isn’t completely comparable to the viciousness of an Andrew Bogut block. The visual effects, the cinematography, and the overall beauty of the film might not be the same kind of beauty as a Curry three.
Instead of screaming “This is Sparta!” before going into battle, they rally around the slogan of “We Are Warriors.”
It might be far-fetched to compare the Warriors to the Athenians … but the Warriors are warriors. They possess the same tenacity, fighting spirit, and underdog mentality that Barnes, Green, O’Neal, and Ezeli witnessed from the Athenians in 300: Rise Of An Empire. Just with a little less gore and bloodshed.
Rally the troops and come root for the underdogs, because this Warriors team could make a statement in the final stretch of this season … in the movie theater and on the court.