SCENE: The Golden State Warriors trail the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-114 after Russell Westbrook hits a deep three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left to play. Things are getting a little tense inside Oracle Arena, as the Thunder have gone on an 11-2 run over the previous two minutes to put the finishing touches on a comeback from a 14-point deficit with seven and a half minutes left to play.
Things were looking bleak, my friends. Fans in attendance sat in stunned silence; many likely came incredibly close to vomiting in the aisles before falling to their knees and screaming, “WESTBROOOOOOOOKKKK!!!!” to signify their dismay at what would surely be a heartbreaking home loss.
Then, on their final play, the Golden State Warriors — who have endeared themselves to younger generations in the Bay Area primarily as “that team that always loses” — won at the buzzer, thanks to one Andre Tyler Iguodala, who threw the drawn up play to the wayside and took the open shot that was given to him, a two-pointer along the right baseline to give his team the victory.
Casual fans would have looked at the stat sheet at that point and said, “You’re telling me the lowest-scoring starter with the worst jump shot of anyone in Golden State’s backcourt and a preternatural ability to drive the lane just won us the game on a baseline jumper?” Then basketball heads would look over at that person (or more likely just tweet at them) and say, “‘Dude, Dre is clutch. You don’t even know.”
Andre knows this. And he laughs at your petty stat mongering. He also slept well knowing he was the only Warriors starter with a positive +/- (+5), which is probably more important than the game winner. Probably.
In other words, go suck an egg … haters.
Andre knows he’s not universally adored by Warriors fans the way Stephen Curry is, that he doesn’t provide the highlight reel-worthy barrage of three-pointers like Klay Thompson. Or at least maybe he wasn’t before last night. He plays great defense. He plays unselfishly and keeps the ball moving (nine assists Wednesday). One thing Andre Iguodala doesn’t do is try to snatch up all the glory for himself.
So how does one ingratiate oneself with a fan base that is so sensitive, so cold-blooded that they’ll even boo their owner, without being the man every second of every game? Just hit a buzzer beater for the win nine games into your tenure with a new team. That’s all.
Might as well reserve a spot in the rafters wherever the Warriors new stadium will be, because Iggy just gave us all a little preview of what’s to come during his career in the Bay. All hail AI, the golden god on the golden team.