In sports, playing at home makes a world of difference. Being able to sleep in your own bed, go without the travel, and go through your normal routine is an advantage in sports. For the most part, teams at home perform better. Every team in the NBA had a better record at home than away last season with the Washington Wizards having an even split. Who has the game’s best fans though? Which NBA team’s fans make away teams not want to come back because they can’t hear themselves calling out plays? That distinction goes to the fans of the Golden State Warriors. The fans sell out Oracle Arena and play the role of the sixth man, lifting their own team and making the opposing team’s night a frustrating experience.
Golden State is generally not thought of a hotbed for basketball. They don’t have a rich history like the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics. The area is well-known for possessing the most geniuses per square mile as it is the technology capital of the world. It may not have a storied team history, but Oakland has a rich basketball tradition producing the likes of Jason Kidd, Gary Payton and Damian Lillard. Some of the best point guards have come out of the Bay Area but they haven’t won a division title since 1976.
Entering the 2006-2007 season, Golden State had not had a winning season since the 1993-1994 season. They hadn’t even won more than 38 games. In 2006-2007, led by point guard Baron Davis, the Warriors won 42 games and snagged the eight seed in the West. They played the top team in the West, the Dallas Mavericks, who were heavily favored. The Warriors had other ideas though. Each home game, Golden State fans packed Oracle Arena to full capacity and 19, 596 screaming fans were wearing gold shirts and waving towels. The decibel levels were off the charts, the opposition couldn’t hear themselves and the crowd noise rivaled that of a rock concert. The Warriors upset the Mavericks in six games and Oracle Arena was reborn.
They didn’t get back to the playoffs until two seasons ago and were led by sharpshooter Stephen Curry. When starting power forward David Lee went down early in game one, the Warriors chances were diminished. However, they rallied around their fans and defeated the Denver Nuggets in six games again. Had it not been for some late-game struggles on the road in the second round and Golden State could have made it to the Western Conference Finals.
At a Lakers game, it’s more of a celebrity affair. Countless movie stars, directors, musicians and other celebrities line the courtside at Lakers games. However, the crowd doesn’t play a huge role in Los Angeles. In Oakland, the crowd plays a huge role and the area geniuses don the Warriors colors and cheer on their team in hopes of providing that distinct homecourt advantage.Chris M.