Oakland triumphant as parade set to celebrate NBA's Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) They are called the Golden State Warriors, but they don't belong to all of California. Not if you ask Oakland.
The down-on-its-luck city that always seems to take a back seat to San Francisco will get a rare to sit back and celebrate itself Thursday in a parade and rally for the hometown Golden State Warriors and their second NBA championship in three years.
They have a lot to cheer for. The Warriors made one of the great playoff runs of all time. They went 15-1 in the postseason, with sweeps in the first three round before beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the finals.
And it came a year after an epic disappointment when the team blew a 3-1 lead against those same Cavaliers despite the best regular season in NBA history.
''We learned from everything we've been through,'' the team's star guard Stephen Curry said during the trophy celebration Monday. ''Our perspective, being blessed to play on this stage three years in a row, it's for these fans, for our organization, for these families.''
Residents of Oakland, which recently learned it's losing one of its other beloved teams, the Raiders, to Las Vegas, are still reeling from a police scandal and mourning a deadly warehouse fire.
But Thursday the city will make headlines for good news.
They get to celebrate Curry, fellow guard Klay Thompson, Coach Steve Kerr, and finals MVP Kevin Durant, who unlike the others will be in his first championship parade.
''It's just a great group of guys, great community, great arena, great fans,'' Durant said after the Warriors clinched the title. ''I'm just so happy to be a part of it.''
The parade through downtown Oakland will follow the same route as the one celebrating the 2015 NBA title.
It will start at 10 a.m. at Broadway and 11th Street, wind through downtown streets and end with a procession to the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center on Lake Merritt.
Fans have spent the week snapping up championship shirts and hats as crews have been hanging gold and blue banners along the parade route.
Spectators can line up for the parade and rally as soon as 5 a.m., and taking public transportation is encouraged.