In the 2016 off-season the Warriors signed mega-star Kevin Durant, adding to an already elite roster. This resulted in backlash from NBA fans, who considered Durant’s move selfish and unloyal to his former team, The Oklahoma City Thunder, where he spent his entire career. This sparked an unprecedented increase in dislike towards Warrior fans, which is especially evident on social media. Many considered the addition of Durant likely to guarantee a championship win for the Warriors, which took away the excitement of the upcoming NBA season. Accounts on Instagram such as “F**kdurant” have obtained over 100,000 followers since the signing. After each loss, the Warriors’ team Instagram page is regularly flooded with hateful comments from other NBA fans.
Sophomore Kamalei Kaleikini has been a Warriors fan since the 4th grade and was hopeful when Durant signed with the Warriors.
“I don’t think it was unfair. I think it was his choice and he decided to go to a team that was already good but could improve,” Kaleikini said.
The Warriors had the best regular season record in NBA history during the 2015-16 season, however they fell short of the NBA championship. Many fans of other NBA teams associated the loss in the finals to a fluke regular season. Many expected the team with the best regular season to easily win the finals, however the Cavaliers took home the championship. Stephen Curry arguably had one of the best seasons in the common era and was unanimously voted MVP. Curry has a playing style the league has never seen, particularly his range from the field which has allowed him to shatter many three-point NBA records. However, Curry is physically undersized and has been labeled as “soft” by old-school NBA legends like Charles Barkley. Curry has usually been able to refute these labels by his performance on the court, however his recent struggles with low field goal percentage and fatigue from the season have only contributed further towards the anti-Warriors media. Curry’s three-point percentage is at an all time low, which is what his game is most known for. Comments like “most overrated player in NBA history,” along with other more simple taunts like “weak” and “choker” can be seen frequently on Curry’s Instagram posts.
Some may ask, how can it be difficult to be a fan of one of the best teams in the NBA? This question is more complicated than it seems. In order to call oneself a Warriors fan you need to be able to back up that claim.
In 2017, the standards for being a fan of the Dubs are at an all time high. Fans are expected to have an in-depth knowledge of history in order to prove they were fans before the team’s recent success. Fans of other NBA teams have taken a dislike to the Warriors’ utter dominance over the last two seasons, and have directed their negative opinions at the fan base. Typical banter makes fun of the Warriors’ star players Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, as well as the phrase “3-1” mocking the Warriors’ unlikely loss in the 2016 NBA Finals despite being up three games to one.
Some Warrior fans have been classified as “fair weather fans” meaning they only root for the Warriors when they are winning. History would show otherwise, because the Warriors have been ranked in the top 10 in attendance totals every year since 2012. The Warriors struggled mightily in 2012 when they sported a record of 23-43. In 2011, Bleacher Report named the Warriors the NBA’s most loyal fan base.
Kaleikini has experienced this “bandwagon” labeling first hand.
“It sucks because everyone says I don’t know anything about basketball because I’m a Warriors fan,” she said.
This anti-Warriors movement has developed into an overall Warriors versus the rest of the NBA atmosphere on social media. Social media in particular has sparked a rather heated rivalry between the Cleveland Cavalier and Warrior fan bases. These teams played each other in the NBA finals the last two years.
Being a fan of the Warriors has its high moments. The Warriors are one of the most exciting teams in the league to watch, with their up-tempo style of play. However, being looked down upon by the rest of the NBA fan base can be very difficult at times. The Warriors have all-time high expectations for this season and fans are desperate for a championship.