The Warriors are not good for basketball. They are great for basketball.
The Warriors didn’t just build the perfect basketball team. They built a love-and-hate culture around them that brings out the best (and worst) of everyone else. Their championship parade Thursday was the peak embodiment of that fact, the crowning jewel on a historic season.
Here are the best moments. And by "best moments" I mean what Draymond Green did, and then everything else.
The Draymond Green Petty Meter: Transcendent
God bless Draymond Green, and all of those who did even the smallest deed in helping him get to this point. May his rise in this league be everlasting, and may his face in front of a microphone be ever present.
That sound you hear is TV executives beginning to draft contracts for Draymond to join their pregame shows as an analyst once he retires. I can’t say Draymond was born to be a basketball player because all evidence suggests he came into this world to be a talker. According to Green, the "Quickie" T-shirts came from a company in Cleveland, which suggests he was ready to don them the moment Golden State swept Cleveland on the Quicken Loans floor, a level of pettiness even Russell Westbrook aspires to.
Of course LeBron, who earlier in the day posted a video on his Instagram indicating that he had finally surrendered to his ever-shrinking hair follicles, had to respond.
The Cavs’ official account, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook all interacted with the post. Consider that a social media collection of petty players who all couldn’t get past the Warriors. This was all fuel to Draymond’s fire. He couldn’t stay away.
Of note: All of these are live posts. No screenshots. No hacking. They’re the real deal. This is like if every player in his prime suddenly had the bravado and shamelessness that guys like Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace have after retirement. If the "boring" NBA playoffs and unsurprising Finals were all a prelude to this, then it was 100 percent worth it.
The Cream of the Bay Area Crop
The local celebrity was not lacking at the parade, either. Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Too Short, E-40, and MC Hammer were part of the fanfare, the latter riding on a Mad Max–style snail with the mayor of Oakland and taking pictures with Draymond Green and his family.
Meanwhile, in an interview with CSN Bay Area, Too Short said he saw a fan in the crowd wearing a LeBron jersey. His reaction? "I threw something at him."
Kevin Durant Reaps the Benefits
Off the best basketball moment of his career, no sleep, a Finals MVP, and, finally, a ring, Kevin Durant brought out his ecstatic mother, his crew, and the marketing power of Nike behind him with a brand-new T-shirt.
SLIMVP is not as good a nickname as Slim Reaper, but it’s progress.
Durant was experiencing bliss throughout the parade and everyone else, like Bob Myers, who for some reason referred to him as "Mr. Durant," couldn’t seem to be happier for him, either. As Myers talked about KD, the crowd erupted into an MVP chant. "We have two MVPs," Myers diplomatically countered.
KD didn’t seem to mind sharing the spotlight. He has a ring.
The Streak Ends, but the Toaster Wins
Klay must be proud.
Steph Curry and Steve Kerr Are Still the Beloved Pillars
Steph Curry and Steve Kerr have a lot in common. They are both calm, cool, collected, and extremely good at their jobs, and both will be eternally beloved in the Bay Area. In the parade on Thursday, the two looked like veterans of the celebrating game.
While Steph sprayed champagne, carried Riley, and got MVP chants of his own, Kerr stepped up to the mic to loud cheers and proceeded to take shots at Draymond.
"Sometimes I get tired of doing the humble thing," he said, "and I wish I could be more like Draymond. … We have a team full of humble guys, and then we have Draymond who loves the stir the pot."
That’s putting it mildly, Steve.
Kerr wasn’t done. He wanted to join in on the fun. "[These players] are ultimate warriors. Wait … did I say that?"
This is why the NBA is better than the rest. It’s why the Warriors dominating the league isn’t bad for basketball. It’s just another vessel to bring us the rivalries, the drama, and the off-the-court shenanigans.
Let me leave you with a lasting image, a very important depiction of the greatness of this sport. One that will get you excited for next season, regardless of how many more straight championships the Warriors win or how many more Russell Westbrook debates we choose to have.
Thank you, Warriors. Thank you, basketball.