A Short History of the Golden State Warriors


The Warriors are exceptional in their current buffed-up roster. They have incredibly talented players, an amazing strategic coach and a historical franchise that makes them great.

The franchise started in Philadelphia in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors. 

Source: Philly Sports History

In the BBA’s first season, the league was comprised of 11 teams which were the Chicago Stags, Cleveland Rebels, Detroit Falcons, Philadelphia Warriors, Pittsburgh Ironmen, Providence Steamrollers, St. Louis Bombers, Boston Celtics and the New York Knickerbockers.

Coached by Eddie Gottieb, a somewhat celebrity of Philadelphia sports, the Warriors dominated most of the league.

The first championship of the Basketball Association of America (BBA) was a success for the Philadelphia Warriors.

They defeated the Chicago Stags 4-1 who were seeded first in the Western Division.

Source: Robert Edward Auctions

Joe Fulks, a 6’5” forward was the key cog in the Warrior machine. He perfected the jump shot and averaged 23 points per game and earned the BAA scoring title.

During the regular season, Fulks set an NBA single-game record of 63 points in 1949 that stood for more than 10 years.

Fulks’ championship series saw him average 26.2 points per game, including outbursts of 37 in Game 1 and 34 in Game Five. 

.Just two years later in the 1948-49 season, the BAA and the National Basketball League (NBL) merged to create the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The first season as the NBA utilised 17 teams divided into three divisions. Problems arose early with unequal playing schedules and games stretching across the country. The Eastern Division was comprised of Syracuse Nationals, New York Knicks, Washington Capitols, Philadelphia Warriors, Baltimore Bullets and the Boston Celtics.

The Central Division saw Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Chicago Stags and the St. Louis Bombers play.

The West included Indianapolis Olympians, Anderson Packers, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Sheboygan Red Skins, Waterloo Hawks and the Denver Nuggets.

Source: The Classic NBA

A year later saw that only eleven teams escaped relegation and a 66-game schedule was created.

This saw the Eastern Division as Philadelphia Warriors, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Syracuse Nationals, Baltimore Bullets and the Washington Capitols. The West comprised Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Indianapolis Olympians and the Tri-Cities Blackhawks.

The next season that saw Warrior success was a championship win with the team defeating Fort Wayne Pistons 4-1 in the 1954-56 series.

Current Hall of Famers, Paul Arizin, Tom Gola and Neil Johnston were in that Warrior’s starting roster.

Arizin and Johnston won 5 of 6 NBA scoring titles between the 1951-52 and 1956-57 seasons with Johnston leading NBA in rebounding totals. 

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

The 1959 season at home, Cow Stadium, did not see a championship, however, it did see the drafting of a-soon-to-be legend. Wilt Chamberlain or commonly known as ‘Wilt the Stilt’.

Just to give you an idea of how good Chamberlain was (if you don’t know already) Chamberlain led the NBA in scoring and rebounding during his 3 season stint at the Warriors. He was named NBA rookie of the year, NBA All-Star game MVP and the league's regular season MVP with an average of 37.6 PPG and 27.0 RPG.

 

Source: First Draft by Kevin Broom.

In this second season, Chamberlain set still standing records where he averaged 27.2 rebounds per game and once grabbed 55 rebounds in a single game in 1961 in a Warrior home game.

He scored a massive 100 points against the New York Knicks, a single game record that ranks among the NBA’s best moments.

In his third and final season at the Warriors, he averaged 50.4 PPG and 25.7 RPG.

The Warriors packed their bags and were shipped to San Francisco in 1962 to become the San Francisco Warriors. 

The season of 1966-67 rolled around which provided the Warriors with a chance for growth and unexpected turns. Two years prior, the Warrior’s decided to trade Chamberlain back to Philadelphia to join the 76ers which forced the Warriors into a state of slump.

In 1966-67, the Warriors proved their heart and rose as the first seed in the Western Division with a 44-37 record. The playoffs saw the Warriors beat the Los Angeles Lakers in three straight games and advanced to the finals.

Their foe? The Philadelphia 76ers led by no other than Wilt Chamberlain. He led his new team to a record of 68-13 at the time and won the championship series in six games.

 

Source: NBA Hoops Online

Struggling in San Francisco, in both finance and performance, the Warriors jumped across the Bay to Oakland and changed their name to the Golden State Warriors in the 1971-72 season.

The Warriors signed Cazzie Russell who alongside Jeff Mullins and Nate Thurmond average 21.4 PPG. The Warriors finished second with a 51-31 record. They would, however, lose to the Milwaukee Bucks in five games.

After another long stint of poor form, the then coach, Al Attles saw drastic changes were needed. In 1974-75 Nate Thurmond was traded to Chicago for a young defensive centre in Clifford Ray. Attles drafted Keith Wilkes. Cazzie Russell left for the Lakers and Rick Barry took on the teams' leadership role.

The Warriors took the Western conference title and sealed a spot in the NBA playoffs against the Chicago Bulls.

In a startling déjà vu scenario, it looked likely that the Warrior’s would lose out because of a former teammate in Nate Thurmond. The series was at three games to two when the Warriors rallied and won a game in Chicago.

The Warriors prevailed in Oakland in Game 7 with an 83-79 game win and took the series.

Rick Barry was named the series MVP.

Source: San Francisco Chronicles

The season after, the Warriors were stunned by the Phoenix Suns, losing in Game 7 then again made the playoffs in the 1976-77 season but would be eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.

A monumental 9-year slump would follow the Warriors from 1977 to 1986. The team didn’t make playoffs once and struggled with injury, coaches and losing players to competing franchises.

The franchise continued to sporadically make playoffs, until 1994, which would mark the start of a mammoth 12-year playoff slump.

The extremely poor form is what makes the 2006-07 season so special. For the first time in twelve years, the Warriors would see playoffs.

Golden State won their first ten games but their fluctuating form would once again fall. The Warriors had to fight hard with a few new names on their roster including Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell.

Closing the season, the Warriors won nine of their last ten games and finished with a 42-40 record, sneaking into the playoffs with eighth seed.

Source: Michael Schuemaker

Golden State took on the Dallas Mavericks and won the first game 97-85. The Mavericks won Game 2 which saw a sold out Oakland crowd in Game 3. Jason Richardson scored a game high 30 points to lead his team to a 109-91 victory. Warriors stole Game 4 but the Mavericks would hold off elimination in Game 5.

The series returned to Oracle where the Warriors made a historical upset in an 111-86 win.

Golden State lost the next round but managed to win their first three games against the Utah Jazz.

Which leads us to the current eras championship rings in the 1014-15 season.

Source: NBA.com

The Warriors lost the 2015-16 championship but who knows what this year could bring. History has shown us that Warriors are just as likely to win it, as they are to lose it after a loss playoffs series.

Hopefully, it’s another series for the record books.

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