The Golden State Warriors Legacy: a look at the off-court team
OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Long before tip off, as fans line up, the lights and cameras get ready for game time action and the Golden State Warriors' other team is warmed up and ready to go. It's the team of arena staff, ushers and other behind-the-scenes workers who form the less visible part of the Golden State Warriors basketball family.
Nicklous Cabral, 75, has been working as an usher since 1995. His 20th season now coinciding with the Warriors' powerful postseason.
"I'm excited, they just opened the doors now and the people will be coming in about 5 minutes," Cabral told KTVU, flashing his big trademark smile.
Cabral always posts up by the south tunnel. It's where he's felt at home for 20 years.
"I love it, I love it, I love it. It's showtime, man, it's showtime," he says.
He's seen players on the court come and go, but through the decades he's stood his ground. And when fans raise the roof with every big play, Nick just smiles.
That's because Cabral helped build the roof back in 1963.
"My job was pouring concrete and all the demolition and stuff," Cabral said, "You knew you were doing something big. A lot of people don't understand this was the first cable ceiling in the country."
To him, the fans are like family.
"It's always been a part of my heart. All my life,"
One of his own life's highlights came in 1965, when he married his wife Joyce while working on the arena.
"When I was working here, I took a week off and went and got married and I came back here and finished the job," Cabral said with a smile.
Now, he brings her spirit with him to every game. The ring on his left hand, forged from both their wedding bands when Joyce passed away more than ten years ago.
"I had this ring made. That's my ring and hers. I put it together to keep her in my heart forever," Cabral said.
There is, in this Warriors home, a legion of longtime friends.
Cabral and his friend Harold "Hal" Miller are part of that team.
"Anything you want to know about the building go to Hal. Anything," Cabral said swinging his arm around Hal.
"Oh my gosh," Hal said laughing, "I know all the crooks and nannies."
At 85 years old, Hal can still sprint up the steps to his post.
"Right here, this is my gate. I'm assigned to this gate right here," he said pointing at the south entrance gate to Oracle Arena.
He greets each fan with a smile and sometimes a joke.
"Hi guys, need some directions to your seats? I'll be happy to help you...and I won't even charge you," he says.
He remembers the Warriors 1975 championship win.
"They beat the Baltimore Bullets...four in a row, and they weren't even expected to make the playoffs," Miller says.
And he's proof that you can tell a lot about a man by his shoes.
"These are Hush Puppies and I got insoles in them that are very thick and I never, hardly ever my feet get tired," Miller said, noting that for some events he walks up to seven miles in just one shift.
"I just keep going because I think it keeps me healthy and I enjoy it," MiIler said.
For these two and so many more, the Warriors are part of home and family.
Their lives inextricably linked to this Golden State legacy.