I’m not the first person to take issue with Golden State’s reaction to being defeated by the Bucks for their first loss of the year, and one could even argue that the conversation is already tired at this point. Those caveats out of the way, there aren’t any new Mavericks games to recap, and that means I get to go off on a topic of my choosing. I’m choosing to throw down the gauntlet when it comes to the Warriors and their annoying “don’t you dare disrespect us” mentality.
As someone who’s been a neutral and distant observer of the NBA until this year, I have no reason to dislike the Warriors. I was as impressed with their title run as anyone last season, and I even recently watched the NBA-produced documentary about their championship journey on Hulu. I respect the team they’ve built, I respect the fact that Stephen Curry alone has made about the same number of three-pointers as the entire Brooklyn Nets team, and I wholeheartedly believe he earned that MVP last season. It was hard to watch the video where he accepted the award and not tear up when he got so emotional thanking his dad and teammates for helping make him into the player he is. I’m also happy for the Golden State fans who got to see their team’s first championship in 40 years.
I write all this because I’m about to criticize them heavily from this point on, and I don’t want anyone suggesting I’m just an embittered, jealous hater. It’s not a secret the Warriors set a new record by starting off this season 24-0, so when the young, exciting-but-struggling Bucks took them down a little over a week ago, it was a big deal. Led by intriguing players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, Milwaukee has all sorts of raw talent, and although they aren’t consistent, they can play some pretty good basketball at times. Most importantly, they’re young, so when they rose to the challenge and defeated a tired Golden State team, they celebrated.
To be fair, they got a little too wrapped up in the celebration, and an alleged stare down directed at the Warrior bench from Michael Carter-Williams after a particularly critical late-game dunk really rubbed them the wrong way. It’s one thing to get emotional about winning, the Warriors said; it’s another to throw class out the window in doing so.
I’m sorry, but Golden State doesn’t get to choose what constitutes an acceptable level of celebration. Many people have come to the Bucks’ defense in the subsequent days, digging up video of players such as Andre Iguodala choreographing lengthy celebrations after big plays and Andrew Bogut dancing like some kind of creepy Australian boogeyman. Draymond Green, the player who was probably the most offended by how Milwaukee reacted to stopping the record-setting streak, showed up to the championship parade last June hammered and jested that the Cavaliers sucked. Just a few days ago, Klay Thompson named himself as the best shooting guard in the league. The point is that the Warriors are hardly a low-key team, and they have no right to demand other teams should be.
What it ultimately comes down to is that the Warriors didn’t feel like the Bucks had accomplished anything worth celebrating over, because their record is pretty dreadful and all they did was win one insignificant game. They like to believe no one respects them, so it should be a compliment to see a team freak out after winning one measly game against them, but instead that pissed them off even worse than being disregarded. The truth is that there’s no possible way to beat the Warriors without offending them, which makes them the definition of a bad loser. I can’t stand the fact that a team that is so obviously incredible has to search for drama to keep their edge. Comments like the one Curry made when he said they noticed the celebration and would be eagerly awaiting the rematch with the Bucks in a few days at home irk me, because shouldn’t you be ready to redeem yourself anyway without the stupid soap opera subplot?
No matter how good the Warriors are, the chip on their collective shoulder is not attractive. They really need to stop buying into the mentality that the world is against them and no one believes in them, and get their competitive fire up the way every other team does — by simply hitting the court and playing the best they can to beat the other team. That’s what a competition is; it shouldn’t have to get personal for your team to care about winning. The Warriors seem to relish the opportunity to make things personal, which makes them look like petty little bitches.
I can’t stand teams that have seen massive success and still want to pretend they’re an underdog. The Warriors are in peak form right now, and everyone in the league wants to beat them. They are not the poor, disrespected team everyone is pulling for to prove that sometimes miracles happen and no one should ever give up hope. They’re officially Goliath, and it’s more exciting to see them lose at this point.
So I found myself watching much of the rematch between these two teams last Friday, and I was desperately hoping for the Bucks to pull it off again, this time on Golden State’s precious home court. They came so very close, but then the Warriors did what they always do — they came roaring back and put the inferior team away. During the rally, Curry took a moment to face the crowd and raise his arms in a gimmicky “get louder” gesture, and I had to fight back the urge to vomit. This isn’t professional wrestling, Steph. Inviting the fans to make some noise just because a 25-1 club is about to narrowly escape getting beaten twice in a week by a struggling team with tons of growing left to do is a little stupid and just makes you look like a douche. Go away.
It may have been easy for me to watch Warriors games objectively before, but those days appear to be over. I’ll be tallying up the losses as they occur and cherishing each one the rest of the way now. The way Golden State’s playing, it won’t be hard to put each loss under the microscope and dissect it thoroughly. After all, it doesn’t appear there will be very many of them.