The Golden State Warriors are hoping to close out their tenure in Oakland with a bang — and Stephen Curry is making sure the people who helped him during his journey know how much they are appreciated before the team packs their bags.
The Warriors are currently tied with the Toronto Raptors at one game apiece in the 2019 NBA Finals, and the team is trying to earn their fifth championship in just six years. It would be a fitting end for the team’s time in Oakland, as the Warriors will relocate from Oracle Arena to San Francisco’s new $500 million Chase Center at the start of the 2019-2020 season. The team originally moved from San Francisco to Oakland in the early 1970s, and changed to the moniker “Golden State.”
Curry, who has been with the Oakland-based Warriors for his entire NBA career, has taken the time to show love to the city’s residents throughout the season. In January, he surprised 250 Oakland students with a new pair of Under Armour’s Curry 6 sneakers, which were designed with the city’s iconic Fox Theater in mind.
Now, as the Warriors prepare to end their season with a potential championship win, Curry surprised 30 people who have contributed to his success with another special edition of his Curry 6 sneakers, this time emblazoned with the words, “Thank You, Oakland.”
The recipients range from team owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber to Curry’s driver Chip Varela. Additionally, his former personal security guard Ralph Walker, Oracle Arena security guard Curtis Jones and barber Yusef Wright also received the shoes.
“A lot has been talked about the move,” Curry said, according to NBC Sports. “This is a small opportunity for me and [Under Armour] to highlight those influential people in my life who have taught me about the city and what it means to be from there, have pride and celebrate the history we had here.”
“We’ve [the Warriors] been here for 47 years, so obviously my 10 years there is all I’ve known,” he added. “It’s pretty dope.”
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Aside from brief but entertaining showings in the playoffs over the years, the team did not see much success until Curry, along with then-emerging stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, led the Warriors to their first NBA title in four decades in 2015.
The team would go on to win three of the next four NBA championships, all of which came at the expense of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors are now the tenth most valuable sports franchise in the world according to Forbes, and the third most valuable NBA team (only behind the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers) — all thanks to the success they eventually achieved in their longtime home.
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While the team will only be a drive across the Bay Bridge, not being able to call the Warriors their own will be sure to sting longtime fans in Oakland.
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