Despite Warriors' loss, community of Oakland wins

Golden State Warriors fans woke up to a disappointing Monday morning, without the NBA Finals celebration they'd been hoping to see after Sunday's heart-breaking loss in Game 7 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Still, some said, despite the Warriors' loss, their historic season had brought a big win to their fans and the community.

Near Lake Merritt, crews worked to pack up the white tents and equipment which had been on standby for a possible Warriors victory parade.

"I think it's a little somber right now, I think there's a little sadness, a little bit of a shock," said Chris Pastena, an Oakland business owner who was wearing a blue and gold Warriors t-shirt. His restaurant LungoMare was one of the Warriors' official watch party locations.

The Warriors post-season party at the Lake Chalet restaurant overlooking Lake Merritt Sunday night was both bitter and sweet, as some reflected on the incredible season.

"73-9 is such a huge accomplishment that we get to be a part of the historic celebration with the city. They bought out the restaurant yesterday, all the front office," said De'Marcus Murphy, the Lake Chalet Restaurant manager.

An Oakland Cavaliers fan passing by the lake had mixed emotions, understanding both the pain and joy of the NBA finals. He said he wasn't too sad seeing the crews putting away the tents.

"You know what, I've been on the other side of it. I don't feel bad. I don't feel bad.  I love Oakland as a city. It's my home. It's a great team, but not this year," said Brandon Smuke, an Oakland resident born in Cleveland who was wearing a Cavaliers jersey.

This year, though, even with the devastating loss, the Warriors helped bring a win home for Oakland which was featured in the nationwide television coverage. The city's tourism and promotion organization Visit Oakland lobbied hard to make sure that images of Oakland landmarks were included in the NBA finals coverage, and not just the famous landmarks of San Francisco.

"For Oakland and for us to be right in the heart of Oakland, it's been a good run," Murphy said.

The Warriors said the three official watch parties at Oracle arena attracted more than 50,000. Also, dozens of local restaurants and bars held parties that benefited the Warriors Community Foundation and businesses.

"We definitely see revenues go up, so its fantastic for the whole city," Pastena said.

Money raised from watch parties go into grants for community groups, such as the East Oakland Youth Development Center.

The Warriors, teaming up with PG&E and Good Tidings  paid for a brand new gym.

"Ah man I was happy," said Devonte Morris, a youth leader at EOYDC, "It looks even better and makes more people come and when people come to play basketball they learn about other opportunities."

It's a court where the center's director says the Warriors once practiced and has been the training ground for 14 NBA players. And it is a place they hope will help new champions to grow.

"For the Warriors to get to the semi-finals, break all these has given Oakland such a championship feel," said Regina Jackson, the East Oakland Youth Development Center President and CEO.

The warriors foundation says they're still adding up the fundraising totals, but expect to
surpass the $100,000 they raised last year.