It ain’t bragging if you can do it

Professional sports are populated with team owners who made their fortunes doing other things, and believe they can work the same magic in the world of sports. Most of them learn the hard way that sports is a whole different game.

Then there’s Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber, principal owners of the Golden State Warriors, who proclaimed a new era for the bedraggled team when they put up $450 million for the franchise in 2010. You have to say they’ve delivered on their promise.

Both of them are successful guys with big egos who aren’t bashful about telling you how smart they are. Gruber is CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, a major player in the Hollywood entertainment industry, and Lacob is a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, one of the most successful Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

Gruber owns a small piece of the Los Angeles Dodgers, an outfit that knows how to spend big money for little return, and Lacob held 5 percent of the Boston Celtics when they bought the Warriors. He made sure everybody knew about his contributions to the Celtics’ success, which has been a marginal team for several years.

They didn’t waste any time overhauling a team that had been dismal for the 10 years it was owned by Chris Cohan. They brought in a president you just happened to be gay, hired a player agent as their general manager, and then got rid of everybody on the roster except Steph  Curry.

They fired long-time coach Don Nelson and eventually replaced him with Mark Jackson, a former player turned broadcaster who had no experience as a coach. Jackson coached the team to consecutive winning seasons and playoff appearances for the first time in more than a decade.

But Lacob decided Jackson wasn’t a team player, so they replaced him with Steve Kerr, another former player, front office executive, and broadcaster who had no coaching experience. Just to show how committed they were to Kerr, the owners signed him to a five-year deal worth $25 million.

So far so good. Kerr coached the Warriors last year to their first championship since 1975, and established a new NBA record for wins this season, finishing with a 73-9 mark. They’re 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs entering tonight’s game against Houston.

Not one to faint false modesty, Lacob proclaimed recently that the organization is “light years” ahead of the competition. “We’ve crushed them on the basketball court, and we’re going to for years because of the way we’ve built this team,” he said.

“We’re light years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things. We’re going to be a handful for the rest of the NBA to deal with for a long time.”

It’s tough to argue with him–after all, the team has posted a five-year regular season record of 262-133 after a decade of losing, won a championship, and is favored to win its second in a row. As the old saying goes, it ain’t bragging if you can do it.




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8 Responses to It ain’t bragging if you can do it

  1. Jeff “Podunk” Pelline, western Nevada County’s designated proofreader, found an errant “l” in this post (“Caulfield,” since corrected), and as is his custom, he’s making a big deal out of it. Go for it, big guy

  2. stevefrisch says:

    When are you guys going to learn that fat jokes, like excrement jokes and jokes about someones looks, are the lowest common denominator? Critique Pelline for being too focused on the picayune and too quick to critique anything “Union” oriented, where he is on admittedly shaky ground. Critique ideas instead of looks.

    One think is certainly true, the Golden State Warriors are a heck of a lot more fun to watch now, and watching a team put together a record of accomplishment like this run as the best ever team in the NBA is a thing of beauty.

  3. stevefrisch says:

    George, did you delete my comment?

    • No. There may be a lag of several hours before I get around to reviewing comments.

    • stevefrisch says:

      Thanks; just curious because it stopped showing up in my WordPress box as well. Believe me I ain’t expecting anyone to be obsessed the the point of monitoring their inbox on the quarter hour:)

  4. According to Pelline, I should be fired because I misspelled a proper name, as opposed to just making a typo in any other word.

    The Sacramento Bee published a picture caption earlier this week that identified Alexander Hamilton as Andrew Hamilton. I wonder how many people approved that page before it landed on my driveway?

    According to the Pelline standard–or at least the standard he applies to my work–the person who wrote the caption and everybody who signed off on the page should be fired for gross ignorance. I’m guessing that didn’t happen.

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