For Warriors, time to celebrate championship is at an end
OAKLAND — Some of the proud Warriors players danced in the streets without their shirts. Warriors second-year forward Jordan Bell chugged a bottle of Hennessy. So did Warriors All-Star guard Klay Thompson, who also sprayed champagne on fans along the parade route.
The Warriors felt intoxicated with championship euphoria and alcohol as they hopped on and off the bus during their championship parade in June. Well, most of them.
When Warriors general manager Bob Myers sat on the bus and stared at the crowd of fans cheering at every turn, he did not think of the team’s third NBA title in four years. He was worried about returning to the team’s practice facility in time to see rookie Jacob Evans in a pre-draft workout that afternoon.
“Your mind can’t be out there with a bottle of Hennessy when you have a draft workout,” Myers said. “You’re struggling to find the balance.”
Since training camp began two weeks ago, the Warriors have characterized themselves as reinvigorated despite playing in the NBA Finals for four consecutive seasons. As illustrated with Myers’ experience at the parade, players, coaches and front-office members have varying success in tackling the NBA’s first-world issue.
How long do the Warriors enjoy their NBA championship with rest and vacation before focusing on next season with summer workouts and game preparations? That question poses different answers for a few reasons. Some players and coaches prepare immediately for summer league. The front office’s itinerary becomes busier with pre-draft workouts in June and free-agency negotiations in July.
Either way, no one can ignore the calendar. As Thompson observed of the offseason, “it’s always too short; that’s a great problem to have.”
“Our time in the offseason has been so crunched these last four years, so you have to make the most out of every single day,” Thompson said. “I’ve always been itching to get back into the gym, but I also enjoy the heck out of my time. It goes by fast. Until we get that ring on ring night, I’m celebrating the hell out of it.”
Nothing captured Thompson’s festive spirit more than what happened after the Warriors won the 2017 NBA title in five games over Cleveland. Then, Warriors assistant general manager Kirk Lacob said Thompson gave him a “mild concussion” after accidentally dropping a champagne bottle on his head.
So after the Warriors swept the Cavs in 2018, Lacob sought payback. No, Lacob did not give Thompson a concussion as retribution. Instead, Lacob emptied his entire champagne bottle on Thompson. After Thompson enjoyed a champagne bath, the Warriors guard sprayed Lacob’s face with bubbly.
“To see the joy on his face,” Lacob said, grinning, “those are the fun moments.”
The not-so-fun moments? That happened 20 minutes later when Lacob left the locker room. Then, Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob and Myers discussed the following week’s pre-draft workout schedules.
“It’s not the healthiest way to live in some ways,” Kirk Lacob said. “But on the other hand, if things were to go south, I could move on quickly, too.”
So does his father. Team accounts said Joe Lacob has basked briefly in champagne celebrations before quickly exiting the locker room to talk with the front office about the future. “I hate to admit it, but yes,” Joe Lacob confirmed.