Warriors owner discusses what it was like to get viciously booed by team’s fans
For those of you who might have missed it, the video above depicts the dreadfully awkward scene that ensued on Monday when the Golden State Warriors held a Chris Mullin jersey retirement ceremony at halftime of the team’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Warriors owner Joe Lacob received a villain’s welcome from the Warriors faithful as he took the microphone, presumably due to the fact that the team traded away fan favorite Monta Ellis last week. And truthfully, describing what occurred as dreadfully awkward hardly does it justice. It was flat-out brutal and uncomfortable to watch.
In any event, Lacob appeared on radio station KNBR in San Francisco to discuss the harrowing scene (via Sports Radio Interviews):
If it occurred to him that the fans would treat him that way:
“No, I mean, it did occur to me. It did occur to me while watching Chris Mullen do his part of the speech — it’s maybe not the best idea to come after this after Chris Mullin, But I think you have to look back a year and a half or so, remember, we had an ownership — and I was a fan too — that wasn’t visible for whatever reasons, and wasn’t transparent and we have tried to establish the opposite of that and be visible. We tried to pour money into the team and do the things needed to win and to run a class organization. It’s one of those things that happens.”
But was he surprised that he received that type of treatment while just trying to celebrate the career of a Warriors legend:
“I was a little bit stunned that it went on as long as it did and was as loud as it was. It sure felt like 20,000 people. Though I have received so many emails that I’m so appreciative to the fans for; I was up all night long until 3 am returning those emails. Unfortunately I can’t keep up with all of them, there’s too many of them, and not one of them has been negative.”
Would he have done anything differently had he known what the reaction would be:
“Yeah, well, of course. In hindsight, if I had known that was going to be the reaction, if we had anticipated that correctly….look, it was the right thing to do to go up there and do that, I was trying to be quick and just present him with a gift from the organization and give him a jersey, but we didn’t really get started.”
Lacob deserves credit for taking on the issue in such a straightforward manner, even owning up to how mistakes might have been made in how an evening devoted to honoring a Golden State Warriors legend should have been handled. But ultimately, he and the rest of Warriors brass should have seen this coming. Still, there was no reason he should have been treated so rudely and with such vitriol. But it was a heckuva thing to watch, even if the urge to look away is perpetually present.