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A franchise rich in history, the Golden State Warriors story has added an electrifying chapter in recent years as the team has reached new heights, some of which the league has never seen before.
The story of the Warriors stretches back 70 years to when they were founded as the Philadelphia Warriors by Peter A. Tyrell. Two championships were captured by the team in Philadelphia, including one in their inaugural season. Perhaps most noteworthy of their time playing ball in Philadelphia was when star player Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game against the New York Knicks. A record that has never come close to being eclipsed, this game has gone down in basketball history.
The 1962 season saw the Warriors move to San Francisco and undergo a period of rebuilding as they traded Wilt Chamberlain following a Finals loss in 1964 and struggled to reload the team for the future. They did make it back to the Finals by 1967 only to lose again, this time to the new team in Philadelphia, the 76ers, and their star player, Wilt Chamberlain.
By 1972 the Warriors were playing full time at the Oakland Coliseum Arena and had adopted their current name, the Golden State Warriors. Strong teams led by Nate Thurmond, Rick Barry, and Jamaal Wilkes kept the Warriors a perennial contender for the title, which was once again captured in 1975 over the heavily favored Washington Bullets. However, key departures in the late 70s led to a period of dormancy for Golden State that lasted until the late 80s.
The Warriors saw another rise to greatness in the late 80s and early 90s with the additions of key players such as Tim Hardaway, Mitch Redmond, and Chris Mullin. Changes in ownership brought more changes to the roster with Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell joining the team and helping the Warriors reach the playoffs. Team chemistry brought about a breakup of the team and a losing record.
The competitive Western Conference was too much for the Warriors teams in the early 2000s led by Jason Richardson, Antawn Jamison, and Gilbert Arenas. That overwhelming competition quashed the championship dreams of the Warriors for several seasons once the playoffs rolled around.
That began to change in 2009 when the Warriors selected Steph Curry with the number seven overall pick in the NBA Draft. And, while many NBA fans were distracted by the drama in Cleveland and Miami with LeBron James and the loaded Heat team he joined, the Golden State Warriors were quietly building a championship dynasty. Andrew Bogut was acquired via a trade and draft pick Klay Thompson took hold of a starting role. Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green were also added to the roster after the 2012 draft. In 2013 the Warriors picked up former 76er Andre Iguodala in free agency.
The pieces were all in place for an incredible run after the Warriors named from NBA player Steve Kerr their new coach. Well coached and loaded with young and talent, the Golden State Warriors entered the 2015 season as a dominant force. A regular season record of 67-15, best in the league, set the stage for what would become a breathtaking playoff run. Curry’s MVP performance that season carried the team through New Orleans, Memphis, and Houston before they would face the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. A true team performance was enough to tear down the defending champs and crown the Golden State Warriors as NBA Champions.
The 2015-2016 season was dreamlike in the bay area, with their Warriors winning their first 24 games of the season, breaking not only the NBA record but becoming the longest winning streak in major American sports history. Curry, Green, and Thompson were all named to the All Star Team. Records were smashed for triple doubles along with multiple records involving three point shooting. The season culminated in a 73-9 record, best in NBA history. Curry was named the league MVP for the third straight season. Golden State cruised through the playoffs, again reaching the Finals, where the dream ended against Miami with a game seven loss at home.
The free agency signing of Kevin Durant that off-season shook the heartbreak of the loss for the team and had them focused on their future. A record of 67-15 saw the Warriors breeze through the regular season and sweep each team along the way to a playoff rematch with Cleveland. Enduring only one loss in the entirety of the playoffs, the Warriors recaptured their title as NBA Champions.
Last season cemented the legacy of this team as an NBA superpower dynasty. Effortlessly gliding through the regular season, Golden State locked up the number two seed in the Western Conference. Bouncing the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans (each in five games), the Warriors were given a run for their money by a very tough Houston team. Ultimately emerging victorious, many wondered how much Golden State would have left in the tank going into the Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for a fourth straight year.
This basketball team lived up to their moniker. Playing like Warriors, Golden State sunk the Cavs in four straight games to earn back to back championships. Will the NBA see a three-peat in the 2018-2019 season? Only time will tell. However, with the talent and chemistry this team has it is very possible. Adding DeMarcus Cousins in free agency on adds to their championship pedigree. For more information about the Golden State Warriors click here.