Golden State Warriors' Tribute

6-17-19 - Warriors - Ed Jay
2018-2019 Golden State Warriors, NBA Finalists.  Photo by Ed Jay.

Post Mortem for the Proud
by Pete Elman

When my son was twelve he pitched in a little league  championship game for the ages. Entering the fray in the top of the first with the bases loaded, nobody out, and our team down 3-0, he struck out the side and did not allow a base runner the rest of the game -- 18 up, 18 down. But we lost, 3-2, when his hard grounder up the middle--with the bases loaded--was grabbed by the shortstop, who dove to the second base bag and touched it, ending the game and the season. My close friend and co-coach at the time, Erik, said something that day about my kid that has stuck with me ever since, " What I love about him is that he's not afraid to lose."

In a post-season for the ages, the Warriors lived up to their name--and then some. The finals were like something out of Shakespeare, or maybe we should go back 2000 years before the bard, to Sophocles, who, like the Warriors, was a winner, competing in 30 competitions, 
winning 24. Hell, let's go back 300 more years before that and call up another Greek, Homer, 
the greatest of all epic poets. For what transpired this post-season was not just a playoff run--
it was an Odyssey.

In defeat, they ennobled themselves and enriched our lives. Hollywood could not have scripted a more compelling, thrilling saga. From the tribulations of Kevin Durant's free agency to his calf strain and ultimately torn Achilles, to the amazing heroics of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, we were treated to an extended basketball drama of the first degree. Never in the history of the NBA has a champion been tested so often. And they passed with flying colors. Twenty years from now, when the sounds of Roaracle have subsided and the roll call of heroes is remembered, the memories and emotions will surge back as if it were yesterday.

Kevin Durant, who, perhaps unknowingly, risked his career to come back to help a team on the brink of elimination, a team that desperately needed him, quieting a nation of doubters who questioned his desire to play the game he loves.

Andre Iguodala, who once again showed the world his Nigerian lion's heart, battered and bruised, summoning up the will to fight until the final whistle.

Steph Curry , the unselfish, indomitable captain who revealed the love for his teammates over and over again, never complaining, always respecting his opponent, demonstrating to the sporting world what a gracious loser looks like.

Draymond Green, the heart and soul of the Warriors, who, in the crucible of the post-season, with the dynasty on the line, never took a play off in 22 games.

Klay Thompson, no longer Robin to Steph's Batman, who finally put his critics to rest with an unforgettable clinic in game six; he dribbled, he shot and made ten free throws, and most importantly, showed the grit and greatness of a superstar, the quintessential teammate. His walk back through the tunnel to shoot those free throws, the crowd screaming, made Willis Reed's heroics pale by comparison.

Steve Kerr, whose leadership, poise and compassion for his players these past five years transcended coaching; friendship, love and belief all wrapped up in one.

At the time, we could not imagine anything topping games five and six against Houston, but games five and six versus the Raptors did. When some time has passed and we can look back on this incredibly special team, what we will remember about the Golden State Warriors will not only be the victories and rings, but how they fought relentlessly this spring and held their
heads high.

With the stunning injuries to Klay and KD, the dynasty is delayed, deferred, and perhaps done. But one thing is certain. For once, the cliché is immutably true--the Warriors showed the heart of a champion. They may have lost the series, but they went out with dignity, pride and tremendous class, shutting up the naysayers and haters who have been jealously villainizing them for five years. 

As Steph said after game five, "We have nothing to prove." Once again, it's not always whether you win that matters. It is how you play the game--and how you lose. For that is the measure of a man--and a team. They were not afraid to lose. And in doing just that, they went out winners, champions in defeat.

Pete Elman
June 14, 2019
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From 2000-2005 I wrote a column for the late great Oakland Athletics Fan Coalition (OAFC) entitled  Elman Swings,
a play on the fact that I'm a musician. Some of you may remember the OAFC, an East Bay organization that at its peak had several thousand members devoted to keeping the A's in Oakland and guess what? They've succeeded. Perhaps one or two of you might remember my articles (more like rants) about baseball and society. So when the Ultimate Sports Guide asked me to compose regular screeds called Outlaw's Outtakes, how could I say "No?" ('Outlaw' is their nickname for me.) -- Pete Elman

3-6-17 - Pops

Michael King (left), with an associate from USF (center), and Karla Granadino-King, are pictured at the Olympic Club in San Francisco,  proudly sharing with the world their  Pops Premium Rumpopo. A King family secret, Pops Premium Rumpopo is a  delicious rum cream liqueur recipe brewed in the family tradition.  The award winning recipe is a Belizean family favorite and now available at all Total Wine & More stores in California and Bay Area retailers.
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Pops - Original
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