I still get chills every time I see Baron Davis throw it down Andrei Kirilenko’s grill. It was during Game 3 of the 2007 Western Conference Semi-Finals when Davis made Oracle Arena shake it had just won the NBA championship. It’s a dunk that ranks among all the all-time greats, along with John Starks’ dunk over Horace Grant and Michael Jordan, Kevin Johnson rising up against Hakeem Olajuwon and Scottie Pippen showing up Patrick Ewing.
(Love the AND1 plug)
But ever since that moment, it’s been all downhill. Only Andris Beindris remains from the “We Believe” Warriors days and that’s only because they can’t find anybody to take him off their hands. It’s as if the team just can’t catch a break.
Yes, I want to believe that the Warriors have turned the corner with the arrival of a defensive-minded center in Andrew Bogut, a pair of solid lottery picks in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (who most believe is due for a breakout season) and a former All-Star in David Lee. Despite my hesitations about Harrison Barnes and the Richard Jefferson albatross, a healthy Warriors team could potentially compete for one of the bottom spots in the playoffs, giving the fan base something to cheer for and believe in once more. We all want that feeling again for Warriors because they deserve it.
The Brand Manager
Player: Harrison Barnes (adidas)
Well, so far things have not turned out the way Harrison Barnes thought they were going to. After a college career that might be best defined as “solid, but ultimately” disappointing, Barnes took a lot of flak from the media and the fans for at times being more concerned about creating a “brand” instead of focusing on the basketball court. And while two All-ACC First Team selections and two trips to the NCAA Tournament in two seasons is nothing to scoff at, the “brand” did not live up to the hype.
Now that he’s in the NBA, Barnes as a great opportunity to reinvent his “brand.” The narrative could be the intelligent young man who was gifted in basketball but was distracted at other things and proceeds to be humbled by the game who then bounces back and becomes just as good as advertised, learning a few life lessons along the way. Bet the Black Falcon (Barnes’ nickname) and adidas (Barnes will be rocking Crazy Light 2s this season) would have a story like that for their marketing campaign.