|Photo Credit: Bay Area Sports Guy|
Owning a sports franchise is a funny thing. Some owners are capable of owning a team while maintaining complete neutrality to the outcome of the games, like John York. These men operate in silence. Most fans of their franchise wouldn't recognize them if they passed them on the street.
Others find themselves way too invested, emotionally or otherwise, in the success of their team. They're vocal with the media and get more face time than they probably should. People like Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban certainly come to mind.
I think it's about time to add Warriors owner Joe Lacob to that second list.
To say that the Warriors are off to a lackluster start is an understatement - this has been a miserable season for Golden State, and with a tough, compact schedule upcoming it's not going to get any easier in Oakland. For an organization that promised "big things" on the horizon, it certainly looks like more of the same. Bold predictions of playoffs in 2012 and a change of culture under Mark Jackson just seem like fluff to most Warriors fans now.
So why is Joe Lacob still talking?
It's times like these when it's just smarter to be quiet, and yet Lacob is doing the opposite. After a blog titled "Fast Break" got after Lacob in a piece called "Denial and Silence," he invited the blogger into his office for a personal interview. In the process Lacob did a little more than put his entire foot in his mouth. I'll show you in a minute.
The unfortunate part of basketball is how difficult recruiting free agent talent is without a talented core already in place. The Warriors do not have a supporting cast good enough to woo a star. The culture in Golden State is a losing one. Lacob touched on the struggle that the structure of the league presents when pursuing players. When asked how he felt about the Chris Paul to the Clippers trade, Lacob responded with this:
"I think that’s well-chronicled without me getting into it. Some players can dictate where they’re going to stay... And believe me, we can and did try hard in that case. There’s 17 years of not winning here that probably hurts us in convincing players to come here. We know we need to overcome that... If a player is from the south-east, and he doesn’t know much about the west coast, and he doesn’t know Oakland/San Francisco, and we haven’t had success … Clippers hadn’t had success either, of course, but obviously he was interested in the bright lights of LA at the end of the day."
Chris Paul may have been more interested in who he was tossing alley oops to than where he would be dining on his nights off, but I digress. When Fast Break asked Lacob if it was time to stop evaluating the current team and start making changes, Lacob's true colors came out:
"We will make changes when the opportunity presents itself or we can create an opportunity that makes us a better basketball team... I’m going to be here a long time, ok? Better get used to it. Decades, ok? So it’s the way it’s going to be. And we are not going to change everything — throw everything out — for 19 games. We’re going to build the organization. We’re going to build a team that we want. And if it takes a year, it takes a year. If it takes two years, it takes two years. But you know what, I’m going to be able to look back 10 years from now — like Mark Cuban was able to look back — and, you know what, I’m going to have an NBA championship. I’m going to have a ring on my finger. Now that may be too long for people to wait, but I’m going to wait."
Mr. Lacob may be willing to wait, but Warriors fans should not be. I appreciate the passion, and at some point it may translate to something special, but right now is not the time to get all big and bold with a blogger.
I know that Joe Lacob will not go away. He sits courtside at home games, he's out on the town, he's passionate about his Warriors. That's not a bad thing.
But the Warriors have failed to deliver on the promises that they made. Promises they made them to the most loyal fan base in the Bay Area. Expecting an owner to come out midseason and confess the organizations failures would be disastrous to the team. On the same token, however, an owner puffing his chest out and making far-fetched proclamations isn't such a good look either. Perhaps it's best if Lacob finds a nice comfortable middle ground and just keeps his mouth shut - at least until he finally has a good reason to boast.
Quotes came from "Fast Break Interview with Warriors Owner Joe Lacob" written by Adam Lauridsen, published February 3rd, 2012 in the San Jose Mercury News