The Baby Dubs. The lower case dubs. The SubDubs. Paschall’s Rascals.
Call ‘em what you want, but the 2019-20 Golden State Warriors who beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night are exactly what shiny new Chase Center needs.
In three simple words: Underdog street cred.
The opening of Chase Center has darn near precipitated a Civil War between Oakland and San Francisco. The moving of the team from the 510 to the 415 has revealed raw feelings from the East Bay towards the West Bay, from many fronts. The latest was Oakland’s own Damian Lillard, who took shots at the Chase Center crowd/vibe/existence before his debut on Monday.
And then, Monday night happened.
Remember the 1957 Henry Fonda classic, “Twelve Angry Men”? Eric Paschall starred in the remake on Monday, “Nine Hungry Men”.
Paschall, Ky Bowman, Willie Cauley-Stein, Glenn Robinson III, Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, Marquese Chriss, Omari Spellman and Alec Burks were the nine guys assigned to wear the uniform and tilt at the windmill of trying beat the NBA’s best backcourt not named Steph or Klay.
And then magic happened.
Paschall, showing the sheen of four years in Villanova’s elite program, went off on his 23rd birthday; 34 points and 13 rebounds. Bowman, an undrafted rookie from Boston College who almost played college football, showed 94 feet of hunger in scoring 19 points and tangling with Hassan Whiteside.
The Warriors . . . somehow . . . beat . . . Portland: 127-118.
And Chase Center was born. The place went nuts. The place had an energy. The place embraced the team’s hustle and grit as the ultimate peace offering.
The insults hurled at Joe Lacob’s palace/playpen have ranged from emphasizing the absurd ticket prices excluding the common fan to more outrageous claims challenging San Francisco’s ability to provide a first-rate NBA atmosphere.
While there is no denying the prices are exorbitant, they were also that way in Oracle. It’s a rather unfortunate development in American sports.
As far as challenging SF’s ability to be a sports town, that was a non-starter, as I was just saying to my barstool pals Joe Montana, Willie Mays, Tim Lincecum and Ronnie Lott.
But something needed to happen to ease the SF/Oakland tension.
The team, featuring nicknames we heard on our show this morning from texters, was the perfect answer.
Absolutely nothing about the Baby Dubs suggests elite privilege or fatcat status. The Paschall/Bowman Warriors are way closer to “We Believe” than “We Have A Butler In Our Suite”.
The crowd that comes to Chase is now being asked to embrace the underdog, to remember why you fell in love with Warriors basketball. The fans from the East Bay and the West Bay may not agree on everything, but they sure agree on endorsing Paschall’s stroke from 3-point-land, or Bowman fighting through screens, or Lee outplaying CJ McCollum. This isn’t about the silverware in the VIP bunkers. This is about floor burns on the hardwood.
Choose your scrappy Warriors memories: younger fans remember the Murphy/Dunleavy/Foyle years; slightly older fans remember Run TMC; some of us even remember the Larry Smith Fan Club and Purvis Short’s rainbow jumper.
Those are the ties that bind. The Warriors have been the team that never represented only one city; they are not the Raiders or the 49ers, not the A’s or the Giants.
And along came the ‘Nine Hungry Men’ to remind us that we have a lot more in common — a love of Warrior hoops — than we have apart.
Just what the Chase Center needed. A team that may turn out to be easy to love. And love conquers all, sports fans.