David John Chavez sees the 559 area code flash on his phone, hits the answer button and thinks he knows what his long-lost college buddy wants.
“You coming down? Want to go to the Warriors game?”
Everybody in the Bay Area does, and they’re becoming a real drain on Chavez’s cel phone battery life.
The Golden State Warriors are the toughest ticket in town, but Chavez — a 42-year-old Fresno State graduate living in San Jose — has two prime season tickets at the big kids’ table: Club 200 level, Section 212, Row 1, right on the aisle.
For years, the high school drama teacher couldn’t give the tickets away. The Warriors were so bad — remember when Corey Maggette was their bright idea of a Baron Davis upgrade? — the price dropped from $30 to $15 per game in his package.
Then the Warriors started this season with a 21-2 (21-2!) record. They won a franchise-record 16 (sixteen!!) straight games. Against real-live NBA opponents, no less, without a single Washington Generals matchup thrown in.
“Now, people call me all the time,” Chavez says. ‘Hey, let me know if you’re going to the game … Hey, you going to sell those tickets?’ ”
Of course Chavez isn’t going to sell those tickets. He’s waited all his life for this season. Hasn’t any Warriors fan born this side of the Al Attles era?
Sure, the Warriors won an NBA title in 1975, but Chavez was 3 years old back then. For a lifetime of Golden State devotion, all Chavez’s memory reserves have to show for it is the Don Nelson years — a Hall of Fame coach, sure, but still the Lord of No Rings — and the occasional playoff run to nowhere in particular.
Now, the Warriors are suddenly sporting the best record in the Western Conference. Freakish is one word that comes to mind. Someone want to check to see if the sky is purple, because this is Bizarro world fiction material.
Chavez goes to games worried it will be mercy-ruler against a “creampuff.” Except, for the first time in the history of ever, the Warriors aren’t the creampuff.
“Every game has a certain kind of cachet that didn’t exist before,” Chavez says. “It’s kind of a stupid thing to complain about, but the Warriors are so good, you know the game’s going to be a blowout. It’s kind of trippy.
“It was never like this before. All we had were bad teams, bad coaching, horrible decisions.”
Know what else is trippy for Chavez and Warriors lifers like him?
Drawing a prime-time game on Christmas night. Losing to the Lakers, and going home to kick the furniture because who loses to the Lakers, anyways? Realizing that Stephen Curry really is your Stephen Curry.
This isn’t supposed to happen to the Warriors. Maybe that’s why Chavez is a little queasy about back-to-back losses last week to the Los Angeles teams.
Maybe this is too good to be true. But even if it is, so what? Their NBA-best start to the season beats anything else the Warriors have sold the past, oh, 40 years. How about we all forget the Lakers exist, and enjoy our Golden State’s finest for the next few months?
“The Warriors were the doormats of the NBA for so long, to get this kind of energy … it’s pretty crazy to watch it all unfold,” Chavez says. “We’ve had a few playoff runs here and there, but this is phenomenal.
“It’s pretty amazing to be at the center of the NBA universe.”