As the Golden State Warriors geared up in Boston to play what would be their championship-winning Game 6 in the NBA Finals this past Thursday, their former home along Interstate 880 in Oakland stood in a still, unwavering silence.
What was once labeled the loudest arena in the NBA, Oracle Arena became home to the Warriors in 1971, when they moved to Oakland and officially took on the moniker of the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors played their final game at the arena, losing in the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors at the end of the 2018-19 season, then carried their legacy over to the newly built Chase Center arena in San Francisco. Thousands of fans eagerly watched the championship-deciding game of the 2021-22 season at a Game 6 watch party at the new location, excited about the change in scenery.
But across the Bay, watching the Warriors in their new home has been bittersweet for Oakland fans, who have remained loyal despite the change in their city’s identity.
Longtime Warriors fan Derek Washington sat at Diamond Sports Bar & Grill in Oakland and defended Oracle.
“That’s my backyard,” he said.
Washington fervently watched the game, decked out in a DeMarcus Cousins jersey. He noted that another championship win for the Warriors is still meaningful no matter where they are hosted, saying, “It’s still the Bay though.”
At a nearby table, native Oakland resident Fernando Sierra sat with a group of friends.
“It’s a money thing,” he spoke about the move, “You can’t argue with that.”
Financial realities of the sports industry aside, Sierra feels the Warriors represent the Bay Area as a whole.
“Whether it’s the A’s, Giants, Raiders, or 49ers, the only time we all come together is for the Warriors.”
Some fans over at Chase Center also reminisced on the Warriors’ former home in Oakland, while accepting their new position in San Francisco.
“Oracle was always loud. But we welcome Chase Center with open arms,” said Sammy Gutierrez, Warriors fan of 20 years.
“Whether it’s the A’s, Giants, Raiders, or 49ers, the only time we all come together is for the Warriors.”Fernando Sierra, Oakland resident
But once the fourth quarter ended and the Warriors sealed the 103-90 win, any grievances about the Warriors’ move to San Francisco seemed to fade, and Oakland became vibrant with championship energy.
Cars passed each other along Broadway and Telegraph Avenue, honking and cheering at each other through car windows. Nearby bars blasted music, as fans could be heard singing “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang on karaoke.
A crowd gathered around Latham Square, channeling their celebratory energy by breaking out into dance party as fireworks went off in the distance.
Though Oracle Arena — now called Oakland Arena and still hosting concerts and other events after the Warriors’ departure — is missed greatly, Oakland fans held up their jerseys and waved their Warriors flags with pride, overjoyed that the team that represents the entire Bay Area had brought home another championship trophy.