We almost missed one of the most fun and exciting recurring events that happened in our own backyard this last winter and spring: the debut season of our new NBA D League team, the Santa Cruz Warriors – the official development team of the Golden State Warriors. Not having been much of a basketball fan through the years (a lack of interest dating back to high school), I had heard about the great time people were having inside our new Kaiser Permanente Arena. Then when our good friend Marq Lipton from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk suggested we check out the game and, more importantly, the interesting back story of the players, I was engaged. As usual, the idea of a good story will always get me hooked. So we met with Warrior management and threw around ideas and headed to our first game. Score!
All I can say is “Holy Three Pointer, Batman” this was some of the most fun I’d had in Santa Cruz all year. Even though the season was winding down, our Warriors looked as if they could win it all so there were definitely some thrilling games to come.
The venue itself is intimate (seating capacity is about 2500) but when sold out the energy is electrifying and contagious. The entertainment factor is high from before game action even begins to fun half-time events that gets the crowd involved to players who will come out to sign autographs after the game. This team appreciates its fans and they show it.
The quality of the game play itself? To me, it’s as good as big league NBA play. After all any of these players could get called up at any time and a lot of them are working to get themselves back to the NBA. And you don’t have to be Jack Nicholson or Ice Cube to be nearly on top of that really great play. There’s no doubt that the fans have an impact on the players and the game itself. Why? Because some of the visiting teams are lucky to get 500 fans to their own home games. So when they come to Santa Cruz, they have to play in front of a rabid fan base, five times the size of what they’d see at home.
The Santa Cruz Warriors are in our own backyard and they’re a definite MUST GO in my book. Fortunately, even if you missed their first season in Santa Cruz, they’re coming back. Opening night for the new season is November 23rd and tickets are already on sale.