Obviously the new Chase Center is not going to be as loud as the roar in Oracle Arena the last time the Golden State Warriors were in the NBA Finals. Now that all of NBA media has noticed that fact after two games there, let’s try to move off of that point. The old arena is always louder, more fun, and it just makes people feel good when they think about it because the beauty of nostalgia is all of the feels with none of the reality.
The home court advantage at Chicago Stadium, the “noisiest arena in the NBA,” according to PA announcer Ray Clay and likely anyone who plugged their ears during the starting lineup introductions, was very real. From 1990-94 they went 37-7 at home during the postseason on their way to three NBA championships. However, the building opened in 1929 and the Bulls would move into a new arena, across the street, beginning in 1994-95. People had a lot of love for that old raggedy building, but the United Center is a better stadium with a great atmosphere when there is a team worth watching inside. However, the words on those large, out of bounds lines underneath the basket at least say the same thing at the UC as they did at Chicago Stadium: Chicago Bulls.
The Warriors made a change at the Chase Center. At Oracle, the colored in-out of bounds area used to always read Golden State Warriors, even during the “We Believe,” 2007 playoffs. At Chase, it still reads “Golden State Warriors” along one baseline, but stenciled on the other one is “San Francisco.”
This new arena wasn’t built across the street, it was built across the bridge. When the San Francisco Warriors settled into Oracle — then the Oakland Coliseum — in 1971, they were renamed the Golden State Warriors. The team was to represent a region instead of just one city. It makes sense, especially in the Bay Area. MLB had San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s, and in the NFL there was the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, but everybody in the Bay could get down with the Warriors. They served the same purpose as the Baltimore Orioles used to for D.C. and Baltimore, just with a more inclusive name.
Now the Warriors go back to the other side of the Bay, a move that owner Joe Lacob wanted to make for years. It may not appear to be a big deal that all of a sudden the name of the city that the Warriors play in is in large print on the playing surface, but that was a conscious decision. The new arena was supposed to be as similar to Oracle as possible, just with some silicon valley goodies for features and more luxury boxes.
The white jerseys that the Warriors wore in their 107-88 victory against Boston Celtics on Sunday look exactly the same as they did when they lost in the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, the last NBA game ever played at Oracle. The court looked pretty much the same as well — sans the Warriors’ celebratory NBA 75th anniversary logo at midcourt and some YouTube TV ads from the league. But the words San Francisco stand out on that one baseline.
It was there when the Warriors first began playing at the Chase Center during Fall 2019, as they made all kinds of reaches to try to ingratiate themselves to San Francisco — even though they’ve literally been the local basketball team for 60 years. They wore San Francisco jerseys, and sometimes went with a San Francisco Warriors midcourt logo. These were efforts that I never remember being made towards Oakland until they said goodbye.
Then, in 2020-2021, there were no fans at the Chase Center due to the pandemic, and guess what, the baseline didn’t have San Francisco on it anymore. Both of them read Golden State Warriors alongside some extra advertising. But when the fans came back this season, San Francisco came right back to the baseline.
The Warriors still hold events in Oakland. They are charitable throughout the Bay Area, and last season, they had the whole city edition Oakland uniforms and court design from the “We Believe/We Mostly Sucked” era of the Warriors. The Bay Area television market is the sixth largest in the United States. Most certainly the Warriors want every single television in that market tuned into NBC Sports Bay Area from October-April, but what they have intentionally done with that baseline shows that the Warriors organization left its heart in San Francisco the moment Lacob got the idea to purchase the team. So if you feel like the energy at the Chase Center is sometimes lacking, it probably has something to do with that large “San Francisco” staring at you from underneath one of the baskets.