Warriors' third NBA Finals shines spotlight on Oakland

OAKLAND (KTVU) -- Oakland has often been overshadowed by the other city across the Bay, but the success of the Golden State Warriors for a third year in the NBA Finals has renewed civic pride in residents and is putting the city in a favorable light.

There's no doubt that Oakland is the Warriors' ground because banners hang on buildings, blue-and-gold flags fly from building roofs and car tops, and it's clear plenty of fans are proud to be the in hometown for the Golden State Warriors basketball team.

The city is rolling out the welcome mat for a third year and some Oaklanders pulled out brooms to display in their living room windows for Game 4, not shy about hoping for a sweep.

"A lot of great energy and a lot of great camaraderie between all the people in Oakland," said Travis Willhite, an Oakland resident.

"Being the home base here, there's a lot of love here," said Thelma Atkins, an Oakland native who works near Lake Merritt. "And we want the best for them and I think it brings Oakland alive."

Pride in their home team and hometown is nothing new for many Oakland residents but the whole nation knows it.

"Having the Warriors do so well in the NBA Finals is just a blessing for the city," said Frances Wong, a senior public relations manager with the Visit Oakland tourism and visitors bureau. "It's putting us on a national platform (and) we're having a spotlight on Oakland."

Although Visit Oakland does not have data specifically related to the Warriors' games, Wong says the team's success does lead to more flights, hotel nights, restaurant bookings and spending in the city.

In 2016, some 3.7 million people visited Oakland, spending $627 million, according to Visit Oakland.

"Oakland (has) been revitalized (with) people coming here," said Reno Cross, who has lived in the city for over a decade. "There are really great restaurants. And the city's finally coming into its own and they've been a big part of that I think."

Many Oaklanders say although the Warriors have decided to move back to San Francisco, their historic success in Oakland has generated golden opportunities for the city on the sunny side of the Bay to shine.

By KTVU reporter Jana Katsuyama.

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