The Golden State Warriors won their first NBA championship in 40 years last week, eliminating the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. Andre Iguodala won the MVP of the series primarily because everything swung in the Warriors' favor once he was inserted into the starting lineup in favor of Andrew Bogut. The Warriors' small ball lineups featuring Iguodala ended up making the difference in the series. The faster tempo created by going small was simply too much for the Cavaliers to overcome.
If they tried to go small, the Cavaliers would get beat because the Warriors had a better small ball lineup. If the Cavaliers tried to go big, they would also get beat because the Warriors would get too many easy looks in transition. In the end, we saw the better team win even though LeBron James was clearly the best player of the entire series. It was sad to see the Cavaliers lose after all that LeBron James had done, but in the end I was happy to see the Bay Area get its first NBA title since 1975.
The city of Oakland hasn't had a lot to cheer about over the years. The economy has been in decline, drugs and violence have been an issue, and they are on the verge of losing their pro sports teams to bigger markets (The Warriors to San Francisco and possibly the Raiders to Los Angeles). It was nice to have an NBA championship parade in the city of Oakland in light of all their struggles. It certainly brought joy, optimism, and pride to the community.
In addition to lifting up the spirits of the city of Oakland, the Warriors' championship also appeared to inspire the Cal men's basketball team. Here are some tweets from the team.
The Bay going up on a Tuesdayyyyy— Jaylen Brown ® (@FCHWPO) June 17, 2015
Congratulations to the Warriors! Great finish to a hard fought season! #StrengthInNumbers— Cuonzo Martin (@CuonzoMartin) June 17, 2015
Stephhhhhh!— Ivan Rabb (@YoungIvee) June 15, 2015
It is clear from all of these tweets and reactions that the Cal men's basketball team has gotten a jolt of excitement and inspiration from watching the hometown Warriors win an NBA title. Realizing that an NBA championship team is so close to them has certainly made them realize that winning a championship in the East Bay can be done. What especially makes this hit home for Cal is the fact that the Warriors play just 11 miles away from UC Berkeley and also bear a name that represents the entire state, calling themselves "Golden State Warriors" in a manner similar to UC Berkeley calling themselves "California Golden Bears".
Even though the Cal men's basketball team will have to go out and earn a national championship like every other team, the hometown Warriors can serve as an inspiration for them and be there as an example of what it takes to win a championship. The Warriors won an NBA championship because they played as a team, made sacrifices, and played hard on both ends of the floor. If Cal can do those same things and try to model themselves after the Warriors in those areas, odds are good that the East Bay will have a Final Four championship team in 2016.
---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord and like my Facebook page NBA Lord Nation