The Warriors pulled out all the stops Wednesday at their season-ticket-holder event at Oracle Arena.
A few thousand loyal customers were treated to free food, a live band and breaking news: Chris Mullin's jersey (No. 17) will be retired Jan. 20 at home against the Indiana Pacers (if the season goes as scheduled).
The theme for the evening: "a celebration of new, an evening of you."
Mullin played 13 years for the Warriors and also played three seasons with the Pacers (from 1997 to 2000). He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in August.
Of course, what wasn't new was the brazen talk. Co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, executive board member Jerry West and new head coach Mark Jackson showered high hopes and big plans on the audience. They praised the fans for their loyalty and promised to be the ones to finally deliver a winning franchise.
"You deserve more," Guber said. "We're going to pay off that debt. ... I hope you hold us to it."
In reality, Wednesday's festivities were a fun break in the action for what has been a grueling offseason. Lacob called the event "fun," something he said he hasn't had in awhile. Since the end of the season, the Warriors have restructured the basketball operations staff, replaced an entire coaching staff after an exhausting search and made several changes at the executive level on the business side.
Lacob said he expects a new team president, replacing the
The goal, he said, is to have all of the restructuring complete by Nov. 12, the one-year anniversary of his official takeover of the franchise.
"I want to have the very best business organization we can have, best in the NBA if possible," Lacob said. "We're right on schedule from what we projected. Really from May to now has been a ton of work. We've really been retooling. It's been a lot of work. A lot of work. Frankly, not what I want to be doing."
So Wednesday was a welcomed break from the grind of franchise-building and dreary lockout news. The four faces of the franchise continued the same lofty talk they've been producing. Introduced by video tributes (from NBA commissioner David Stern, Magic Johnson, Pat Riley and Reggie Miller), Lacob, Guber, West and Jackson offered relentless praise to the fans and reiterated their bold promises. To change the culture. To make the playoffs. To win championships.
Jackson, at one point, even had the crowd chanting "D-fense."
"Our mission is not to be a playoff basketball team," said Jackson. "Our mission is to hang a banner in this place."