Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob isn’t exactly pleased with Rihanna’s fanaticism for Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James in the ongoing 2015 NBA Finals.
Lacob sat beside the pop star during Golden State’s 108-100 overtime win in Game 1 on June 4. However, Rihanna’s constant cheering for James and Co. at Oracle Arena irked Lacob to the point he switched courtside seats with his fiancee, per CBS Sports’ Ananth Pandian.
This is hard evidence visiting fans can really get on the nerves of a team’s hometown supporters.
Pandian cites a YouTube video where Lacob explains his efforts to shush Rhianna during the game proved futile. He even says he moved his kids to another section of Oracle Arena so she could sit beside him:
I want to clarify something. I did not give her the seats. Everyone is talking about this on radio today as I was driving around the city going to different meetings.
She bought seats, paid a lot of money for them and she can root for whoever she wants, right? But I thought I would be a nice guy and took my two kids, who go to a lot of games and booted them down to the end of the court and moved her next to me.
I said, ‘Hey, sit next to the owner, it is a nice thing to do.’ I thought I was being friendly. She was rooting for LeBron the whole game so finally I was getting irritated and said, ‘Hey, I’m the owner of the Warriors.’
She didn’t care, she just kept going. So finally, I said that’s it and moved a couple seats down. Everyone has it that I moved my fiancee next to her because she got upset that I was sitting next to Rhianna which is not true.
To Rhianna’s delight, James scored 44 points in Game 1 on Thursday. However, the Warriors won in overtime, 108-100.
Rhianna’s antics comes several days before Lacob told The San Francisco Chronicle’s Al Saracevic he had a daunting task of infusing the Warriors organization with the right people when he took over as the team’s owner four years ago.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 6, 2015
Lacob grew up in poor conditions in Massachusetts. Nothing came easy for him. The San Francisco Chronicle update reveals he had to finance himself so he can go to college at UC Irvine and graduate school at Stanford University.
Saracevic says it was at Stanford where Lacob learned Silicon Valley values such as great ideas, seed money, best practices, top talent as well as risk and reward. These are the same values he applied in turning the fortunes of the life sciences, green energy and Internet commerce companies and eventually, the Warriors around, per The San Francisco Chronicle.
Among the manifestations of Silicon Valley values Lacob applied to the Warriors was hiring top-notch, front-office talent in Jerry West and Bob Myers. On the court, he dealt high-scoring shooting guard Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks for injury-prone center Andrew Bogut, per Saracevic.
In spite of Mark Jackson’s success as Golden State’s head coach (he had a combined 98-66 win-loss record in his last two seasons on the Warriors’ bench), Lacob fired him in 2014. He hired former basketball analyst Steve Kerr—who had zero head coaching experience—to be his new head coach, per The San Francisco Chronicle.
Saracevic says Warriors fans booed Lacob loudly during Chris Mullin’s jersey retirement ceremony in the aftermath of the Ellis trade. Lacob admits it stung, but uses it as motivation to move forward.
And the Warriors have, in a big way.
Ellis’ departure paved the way for 2014-15 NBA MVP Stephen Curry to blossom in Kerr’s offensive attack. Bogut also displayed the toughness many fans were looking for when he donned a Warriors jersey for the first time, per The San Francisco Chronicle.
Lacob credits equal parts luck and equal parts people recruitment to Golden State’s unprecedented franchise success.
However, he told Saracevic what ultimately got his team over the hump is relentlessness. Plain and simple.
The Parting Shot
Lacob’s example of building the Golden State Warriors from the ground up should serve as a hard lesson for teams in professional sports.
He went with his gut and brought the right people on board. His risk-taking and relentlessness have really paid off.
It’s not to say team owners have to have a Stanford degree to get it right. Yes, education, plays a huge part but as Lacob has shown us, business savvy and people skills can really improve your team in more ways than one.
Magic giving Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob & I insight on Lebron in the fourth quarter Time out pic.twitter.com/kuzHOz2IQL
— Tony Robbins (@TonyRobbins) June 5, 2015
You also have to look at Lacob’s background: He came from a poor family. He also had to deal with naysayers and doubters. No doubt about it, he turned those obstacles into opportunities. We are all challenged to do the same thing in the course of everyday life.
As for the Rihanna issue, it’s really a non-issue.
The Golden State Warriors are known to have one of the most rabid fan bases in the NBA. They routinely fill Oracle Arena to the rafters wearing gold shirts to support their beloved Dubs.
Despite this fact, you are sure to run into visiting fans who support their team just as ardently. Which brings us back to Rihanna. It would be easy for most people to dismiss her antics. She was just supporting LeBron James.
However, she was seated right next to the owner of the Golden State Warriors.
Assume they showed this on TV, but Joe Lacob just told me Rihanna was cheering very loudly for LeBron
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 5, 2015
Well, we can’t expect Rihanna to tone it down when she sees James throwing down a breakaway tomahawk dunk. We can’t expect her to keep it in while her team is winning or making a big play.
We see it all the time: Chicago Bulls fans infiltrating an enemy arena and cheering their team on. Famous NFL teams such as the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers have fans who cover many miles across the country to follow their teams.
In Major League Baseball, their equivalent has to be New York Yankees fans.
As for Lacob, well, he had every right to feel disgusted. With his stature and all the hard work he has put in to make the Warriors the title contenders they are now, he had that right.
Good thing he played it cool when he couldn’t take it anymore. This made it a win-win situation for both parties.