The Golden State Warriors have learned the only opinion that matters, is their own.
Normally there is a grace period for a team that just won a championship. A period where they are allowed to savor their accomplishment and soak in all the accolades that comes with being Champions — unless, it seems, that you’re the Golden State Warriors.
Throughout sports history, championship teams have been viewed through three different dimensional glasses. The first dimension of glasses is the kind that “Joe Public” sees when they open their collective eyes. This view is usually predicated on many factors, but in general it’s relatively predictable.
The public will usually give a championship team its just praise — unless of course, it comes at the expense of their own hometown team. In that kind of case, they may downplay the accomplishment as a mere fluke or “flash in the pan.”
The second dimension of glasses are viewed through the lenses of their peers. That’s comprised of the teams and players who battled and challenged the eventual champions, until there wasn’t any time remaining on the clock or games left on the schedule.
This dimension seems to be the most cherished by all champions. How do their peers view them? Do their opponents respect the hard work and dedication it took to reach the mountain top? Or do they think they were just the beneficiaries of timing and circumstance.
The third and often times the most blurred view comes from the “Legends of the Past.” These are the players who paved the way for today’s champions, but never got the compensation or headlines that the present day star tends to get. They often times criticize today’s game and players for lacking the toughness and passion of yesteryear.
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For them, the game will never be as great as when they played it. They view the game as being watered down and somehow a pale imitation of the game they played. Therefore, their view of modern day players and teams is skewed — oftentimes in a negative light.
From day one of training camp, the Warriors have repeatedly been the focus of the mind numbing statements and bewildering predictions of outsiders. The commentary surrounding this team has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.
The sheer number of individuals who have used the Warriors narrative, whether positive or negative, to get attention has been limitless. Even random ex-players whose names haven’t been mentioned outside of TMZ reports in years have jumped on board “The Warriors Are Overrated” train — seemingly just to get a five second segment on SportsCenter.
It would be easy for this team to take on the “It’s the Warriors versus the World” mentality. And who could blame them if some of that outside noise crept into their locker-room? The noise has been so loud and persistent, it would seem almost impossible to ignore. However, the mental fortress that the Warriors have built, has amazingly, kept the outside noise at bay.
The leaders of the team — Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Steve Kerr — have kept the team focused by eliminating the surrounding noise. And their united hatred of losing has driven them. The Warriors will ignore anything that isn’t aligned with winning. They perceive jealousy and selfishness as losing traits.
They realize that the “team” and the organization is more important than a single individual. So when a vocal leader like Draymond blows up at halftime and losses control of his emotions, there is no emergency team meeting needed to ease tension. They address it and move on.
Self policing is what makes the Warriors unique. So when Draymond stood up in front of reporters and admitted to letting his emotions get the best of him, it wasn’t a surprise. This is the culture the Warriors have created. It’s a culture that has allowed them to excel on the court while eliminating the noise off of it. The chirping may continue as background noise, but it is sure to be out done by all the winning in the forefront.