Ouch. The usually mild mannered and loyal Golden State Warrios fanbase stunned the basketball world on Monday night when they booed team owner, Joe Lacob, viciously during a halftime ceremony for the legendary Chris Mullin. In the wake of the Monta Ellis trade, fans were understandably upset that the team’s most entertaining and best player had been shipped out of town. Nobody though could have expected this type of negative reaction, though, especially not during a moment that should have been about Mullin, a fan favorite. The boos lasted more than just a few seconds. Take a look. Lacob joined KNBR in San Francisco to talk about how the fans treated him, the timing of the treatment, would he do anything differently now knowing what the reaction was, and on the fans backlash to the Monta Ellis trade.
If it occurred to him that the fans would treat him that way:
“No, I mean, it did occur to me. It did occur to me while watching Chris Mullen do his part of the speech — it’s maybe not the best idea to come after this after Chris Mullin, But I think you have to look back a year and a half or so, remember, we had an ownership — and I was a fan too — that wasn’t visible for whatever reasons, and wasn’t transparent and we have tried to establish the opposite of that and be visible. We tried to pour money into the team and do the things needed to win and to run a class organization. It’s one of those things that happens.”
But was he surprised that he received that type of treatment while just trying to celebrate the career of a Warriors legend:
“I was a little bit stunned that it went on as long as it did and was as loud as it was. It sure felt like 20,000 people. Though I have received so many emails that I’m so appreciative to the fans for; I was up all night long until 3 am returning those emails. Unfortunately I can’t keep up with all of them, there’s too many of them, and not one of them has been negative.”
Would he have done anything differently had he known what the reaction would be:
“Yeah, well, of course. In hindsight, if I had known that was going to be the reaction, if we had anticipated that correctly….look, it was the right thing to do to go up there and do that, I was trying to be quick and just present him with a gift from the organization and give him a jersey, but we didn’t really get started.”
On anticipating the fans’ backlash even though it’s very easy to argue that the Warriors are a much better team after the trade:
“We had certainly hoped not. Mark Jackson has done a tremendous job of keeping his players playing hard. Even last night, you’ve got to appreciate the effort. They came back out in the second half and played really hard ; they’ve done that in several games. Clearly, maybe we don’t have the horses right now. We’ve got some injuries. If Steph were there and Booger, I think you’d see a whole different team, but look, I’m a fan too. And when we made this trade, Jerry West, and Larry and Bob Myers all the advisers ahead all voted unanimously to do it. I was the last one.
And I was kind of sick to my stomach. It’s so hard to pull the trigger on something like this, a fan favorite like Monta. But we had to do it, it was the right decision. We don’t want to keep losing, we want to win, that’s the goal here. So we made the change, we made the trade. I remember Jerry West saying to me ‘are you okay, if this means losing the rest of the year, are you okay with that?’ And I said, ‘no, I’m not; that’s what’s holding me back here, I don’t want to lose.”