Joe Jacob envisions long-term Warriors’ Chase Center greatness

SAN FRANCISCO — Warriors owner Joe Lacob hears the chatter, he sees your tweets. He know the voice of the fans and the media, he knows what’s said on TV and the radio. And he has to feel pretty validated with the 2021-22 Warriors.

He does. He’ll let you know and rightfully so.

The Warriors faced numerous questions all offseason, from the NBA draft to the trade market and free agency. After failing to make the playoffs for the second straight season, what would the Warriors’ next move be? They had two lottery picks, though the consensus was at least one would be on the move. Everybody on the outside figured the front office had to make win-now moves with the Warriors’ core on the other side of 30, and the idea that the rest of the league was catching up.

But Lacob and many others maintained their belief that the Warriors, who continue to be led by Steph Curry (34 years old), Klay Thompson (32 years old) and Draymond Green (32 years old), still were at the top of their powers and could compete for championships in the present while building the bridge to the future of young Dubs in Jordan Poole (22 years old) and James Wiseman (21 years old) before drafting Jonathan Kuminga (19 years old) and Moses Moody (19 years old )

As he sat at the Chase Center podium Monday with his Warriors days away from hosting the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals, Lacob might as well have patted himself on the back. He was right.

“I know we — I [general manager Bob Myers], the organization — took some criticism from some people that we should trade all the draft pieces that we have to get one more great player or whatever,” Lacob said Monday to reporters. “I was very adamant about it, and so was Bob . That was not the path that we were going down.

“We want to be good for a long time, we want to be great for a long time.”

Some have compared it to the San Antonio Spurs, and the Warriors haven’t shied away from their admiration for the franchise. But the Warrior Way has brought a whole lot of wins for a long time now. It’s hard to argue against.

Just like it has been hard to argue too much with the majority of Lacob’s decisions, as well as Myers and others.

This season, as Lacob alluded to, the success always was still going to rest on the shoulders of Curry, Thompson and Green, as it always has. Then it trickles down to Andrew Wiggins, Poole, Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr. and other contributing role players as well. The higher your ceiling is from your stars, the more room there is for a higher peak from the surrounding players.

That’s what the Warriors have been able to do in the past with players like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa and more. Only this time, two 19-year-olds are getting major minutes on the biggest stage while the Warriors still wait for the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft from only two years ago.

While Lacob waits to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy for a fourth time, he’s standing inside his shining prize to San Francisco and the rest of the world. The moment Lacob, Peter Guber and a group of investors agreed to buy the Warriors from Chris Cohan for $450 million in July of 2010, they eyed a future move from Oakland to San Francisco. Chase Center opened in 2019, and in October of 2021, Forbes valued the Warriors at $5.6 billion.

From the inside of Chase Center, to the outside at Thrive City, Lacob’s vision is coming true with the Warriors back to their winning ways.

“Personally, I’m just as proud of Chase Center — personally, now — as I am with this team,” Lacob said. “I can’t even tell you how hard this was to get done. It took seven years, and in this city, it’s probably harder than any other city to do it. And as you know, it’s all been ballyhooed, it was all We didn’t have to take money away from police and firefighters and so many social services.

“How does it look? I think it looks great. I love it. Every single night I get chills when I walk into the arena. I literally get chills. I just love it. I love basketball, I’ve loved it all my life.”

Whether it be Curry, Green, other players or coach Steve Kerr, subtle messages this season have been pushed to the fan base while also preaching patience. This is a relatively new building. Creating an identity takes time.

The debate between Chase Center and Oracle Arena is played out, and just like with everything else, winning cures all.

“For 50 years I’ve been going to games. I’ve been to every arena in the world. And to me, there is no better arena in the world than this one, Chase Center. It just needs the experiences, like this one, to give it that history that Oracle had or a place like [Madison Square Garden]at least a long time ago anyway.

“I think that’s what’s great about it. We love this building. Our players love this building, our partners love this building and it’s shown up pretty well.”

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Lacob grew up in New Bedford, Mass., as a Celtics fan until he was 13 years old and the family moved to Anaheim, where he was now surrounded by Los Angeles Lakers fans. When Lacob took over ownership of the Warriors, he was quoted as saying how he wanted Golden State to be like the Celtics and Lakers, or even better.

It’s what he knew, he was chasing nothing short of greatness. The Warriors have been the superior team as of late, but when Lacob is reminded the Celtics have won 17 championships, his eyes and ears perk up as if his competitiveness is about to jump out of his body.

He wants what they have, he wants even more. To be great today, tomorrow and day-by-day for years to come.

“That is our goal,” Jacob said. “Our goal is to be perennially really good at challenging for a title. Otherwise, there’s no point in doing this.”

After more than 15 minutes of meeting with media, Lacob gave an upper hand to Boston in the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, while adding in his own Warriors history too.

“I’ll give you a statistic that I think is just the most unbelievable statistic,” Lacob says. “The Celtics are great. Jerry Buss owned the Lakers for 33 years. Does anybody know how many Finals he made in 33 years? Sixteen out of 33 years. Now that is remarkable.

“We’ve now made six in 12 years. So, I love the 50-percent rate. Whether we’ll continue that, I don’t know.

“But I’m sure as hell gonna try.”

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