By; Tarrian Rogers
What if I told you there was a time in Warriors basketball history when the “Splash Brothers” didn’t exist? Before Draymond Green was hitting below the belt, the Warriors had Latrell Sprewell choking coaches in losing efforts. The Warriors have won so much lately it is hard to remember the Warriors suffered through the “Wilderness Years” between 1997-2009. In fact, going into the 2006–07 season, the Warriors held the active record (12) for the most consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance.
As fans it’s always fun to root for the underdog, but the rise of the Warriors has the makeup of a Disney movie. The Warriors went from the outhouse to the penthouse in five short years. Compiling the most successful four-year run in NBA history (265-63 overall record) from 2014-18 including a 73-9 season and joining the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers as the only franchises to win three NBA titles (2015, 2017, 2018) in a span of four seasons.
There is plenty of praise to go around for the success of the Warriors. However, let’s start up top with owner Joe Lacob. His overall vision and business acumen can be contributed to the quick turnaround. The goal of any business man is to turn profit. In 2010, Lacob led an ownership group that paid $450 million for the Golden State Warriors. The value of the team is up almost tenfold since then, and his 25% stake is worth nearly $900 million, net of debt.
In 2014 and 2016, the Warriors were named “Sports Team of the Year” by the Sports Business Journal, in recognition of the organizations innovative and successful business practices. This marks the first time that any professional team has won this prestigious sports business award more than once. Under Lacob’s leadership, the Warriors were named the 2016 winner of the Entrepreneurial Company of the Year (ENCORE) Award by the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in recognition of the organization’s entrepreneurial spirit in redefining sports management, pioneering the use of sports analytics in the NBA, and adopting new technologies that have transformed the fan experience.
The Warriors are the first sports organization to win the ENCORE Award, which has been presented annually since 1982 to recognize best in class entrepreneurial companies from around the world and has included such recent winners as Google (2004), Apple (2005), and Amazon (2010). To Lacob’s credit he’s one of the biggest driving forces for merging the NBA and Silicone Valley as he was also named one of the Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO’s by the San Francisco Business Times in November of 2015.
Since making a then-record-setting $450-million bid to purchase his hometown NBA club. Lacob has been the driving force behind many of the creative changes that have transpired with the organization. Off the court Lacob has revamped the Warriors Community Foundation and he has personally delivered over $10 million in economic impact to local school districts and non-profits serving at-risk and underserved students.
In recent years, Lacob has been involved in industry organizations including the American Heart Association and the AHA Roundtable. He has also been very active at Stanford University, serving on advisory boards at the medical center, business school and athletic department. Lacob’s philanthropic interests focus on education, both in the community and with universities. In 2014, he gifted $1 million to Washington University in St. Louis to establish a new Sports Management program at the Olin Business School. He has also provided scholarships to a number of high potential academic and athletic high school and college students in need.
Lacob’s story is rather inspiring he is a Bay Area product that had been a dedicated Warriors season ticket holder since 1998. Lacob was a true fan turned owner. He has played in a regular pick-up basketball game, and still does, at least twice weekly for over 30 years at Stanford. His story is a testament if you ever had a dream or wanted to do something you can achieve it with hard work and dedication.