You heard it here last
I’ve rooted against the Golden State Warriors all season. It’s not hard to do when they’re favored to win by ten to fifteen points every night.
Watching the Cavaliers beat them on Christmas Day was easily the highlight of my Christmas Day.
Seeing them turn on each other when a final play didn’t go their way made me happier than waking up on a Monday to find out class is cancelled.
Though it will all likely be for naught, and the commissioner will present them their trophy, I'll root for absolutely any team they play against in the playoffs.
I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Yet it didn’t used to be this way. They were the team to root for. They were the up and coming squad of young kids who just loved to play.
They were smashing records and draining shots at an unimaginable rate. They played a brand of team basketball that nearly rivaled the Spurs yet managed to have fun in the process.
It looked like they were going to go down as the greatest team of all time, and America (for the most part) was still cheering them on.
So what happened to cause such animosity? Why did they go from loveable kids to a sharp-shooting version of the Galactic Empire?
Many have tried to pinpoint the instant in time when we began to turn on them last year. Some speculate it was when their owner proclaimed “we’re light years ahead of probably every other team,” among other things during the regular season.
Some point to Draymond Green’s kicking and technical foul incidents that cost the team its likeable persona. Others claim Steph Curry yelling “I’m back” with such unbridled contempt for Thunder fans that he hardly looked human.
Still, most of the sports world was able to set aside its disenchantment with the Warriors when they went up against Cleveland (specifically the villainous Lebron James) in the finals.
This only leaves one event to point to as the cause for all of the hatred: Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City to join the team who beat him in the conference finals.
It wasn’t anything illegal. There were no deflated basketballs involved in the decision. The Warriors had smartly managed their salaries, and Durant had every right to choose where he wanted to go.
While Durant can certainly be accused of ring chasing, his decision does not inherently give me (or anyone else) real reason to go from such adoration for Golden State to such antipathy overnight.
It could be they’ve become the villain due to the sum of these factors. Perhaps, however, it is something else entirely. Perhaps the sports world just got tired of them.
The fun-loving spirit we saw when they celebrated a shot before it went in seemed to turn to cockiness and degradation of their opponents.
The excitement turned into expectation, and we became empathetic for the teams unlucky enough to face them.
In sports, as in life, it’s human nature to root for the underdog. Golden State has zero claim to that title anymore.
They didn't fall victim to salary caps, injuries or anything else that typically kills a dynasty during their heroic reign. Naturally, they’ve lived long enough to become the villain.
Hopefully we can find ourselves a new band of heroes to dismantle the dynasty come playoff time.
Tyler Dean is a junior studying business administration.