The only thing you could count on more reliably for Warriors fans (other than the hyphenated adjective “long-suffering” preceding their name) was the nostalgia for the days of Run TMC.
A triumph, actually of style over substance, the triumvirate of (T)im Haradaway, (M)itch Richmond, and (C)hris Mullin run and gunned from the opening tip and made the years 1990-91 a time of celebration for fans of the full-court skip pass, undersized pluck, and second-round playoff exits.
Strangely, the Goldies’ gumption and underdog charm won over an Oakland fan base that enjoyed championships in pro football, baseball, and basketball in the 1970’s, but didn’t seem to mind its hoop team falling short in the 1990’s, as it did when the A’s and Raiders underachieved.
So after more than a dozen years in the wilderness, it’s the Warriors back to the future. The trio of Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, and Monte Ellis is riding the same train that the boys from the era of Bush I came in on. They’re fast, they’re fun, and they have about as much chance of beating a team with a strong power forward that the Raiders have of being relevant again this decade.
But the demise of the ’90s Warriors was because, within two years, the fans demanded improvements. By trading Richmond and then later Hardaway, the message was “We’re going to toss back our three-of-a-kind, and try for a straight flush,” and, of course, got flushed instead.
As long as local fans are content with the occasional thrilling upset, and don’t reach for the forbidden fruit of a conference title, the ORACLE Arena will continue to enjoy feats like last night’s scalping of the San Antonio Spurs. But how long will rooters be content with being the Little Engine that threw up thirty three-pointers? Based on history, the shot clock on that kind of fun may already be winding down.