Warriors fans revel at Oakland VIP party ahead of NBA finals
OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - As the world of basketball turns to Oakland and Oracle Arena for the start of the NBA finals, the Golden State Warriors took a moment Wednesday night to thank Oakland and the community with a VIP party at the Lake Chalet in celebration of a dream season.
"I'm just thrilled to be here and I'm so excited that this is our opportunity after 40 years," said Clare Foley of El Cerrito.
The Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts mingled with the crowd, shaking hands and showing his appreciation for the team and the many volunteers and community partners who were invited to the celebration.
"I think we're all still pinching ourselves," Welts told KTVU, "I've been in sports since I was 16 years old and it's a very, very rare thing to have a season unfold the way this one has."
Fans wore their best blue and gold Warriors gear and sipped on champagne and cocktails near blue and gold tables overlooking Lake Merritt.
"If you can't wear your loud yellow outfit anywhere else, you have to wear it for the Warriors, woohoo!" said Toni Alexander of Oakland who sported a bright yellow jacket, pants and yellow sandals.
The Warriors winning streak has put them in the national spotlight and fans say they are excited, but also nervous.
"I would say a lot of butterflies. It's just nerve-wracking to finally be in the playoffs and not just the playoffs but the finals on the grandest stage," said Will Roan, who wore a Warriors jacket signed by Coach Steve Kerr.
The golden glow stretches throughout the Bay Area. Fans filled the Warriors Store in San Francisco to buy up gear. The black finals cap, though, was sold out along with other finals merchandise.
"Sneakers...sold out, lowest size is 13. Yeah, everything is sold out so it's crazy," said Justin Liu, a visitor from Taiwan who says Steph Curry is a fan favorite there.
"For all the years of crying and losing, time after time, throwing tickets away in the trash cause we lost, now this is like unbelievable. It is like a dream," said Keys Taylor, a lifelong fan from Hayward.
Outside the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco where the Cavaliers are staying, Cleveland fans have their own dreams for a team that's never won the NBA Championship title
"We're thrilled to see Lebron come back and give something back to Northeastern Ohio. I'm from Youngstown so Northeast Ohio needs all it can get," said Betty Windland who was with her husband Bob, both Cavaliers fans
Darryl Monroe is a Cavaliers fan and a native San Franciscan who stood outside the hotel snapping photos of Lebron James and other Cavaliers players as they left for practice.
He showed his tablet that had autographs he'd collected Wednesday.
"It's good just to see them up close and personal," Monroe said.
For those who love the game, this matchup is all about the drama of two great teams, each with great stories reaching for a place in history.
"I'm trying to absorb all I can to remember this moment, cause you never know when it's going to happen again," Taylor said.