“We want Monta"...
That’s what one fan screamed during the course of deafening boos aimed toward Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob on Monday night during Chris Mullin’s No. 17 jersey retirement ceremony at Oracle Arena.
Instead of the halftime celebration recognizing Mullin’s services to the organization as a five-time all-star, Olympian and Hall of Famer, all anyone can think about now is the merciless reaction and disdain for Lacob by the Warrior fan base.
Both Mullin and former Warrior, Rick Barry tried to cool matters by grabbing the microphone and speaking directly to the fans, but the boos only continued.
"With your support and patience, use that passion in the right direction," Mullin said. "This thing is going the right way, I have great confidence in Joe and Mark Jackson."
While Mullin tried to appease the crowd, Barry’s attempt came off like a father scolding his children.
"Hey, one second here. Come on people. You fans are the greatest fans in the world. Everyone has said that. Show a little bit of class. This is a man I have spent some time talking to. He is going to change this franchise. This is crazy. Seriously, come on," Barry pleaded. "You're doing yourself a disservice. All of the wonderful accolades being said to you. For you to treat this man, who is spending his money to do the best that he can to turn this franchise around, I know he's going to do it. Give him the respect he deserves."
Through the course of his time on the microphone, Lacob was bombarded with chants of “Monta” – Monta Ellis, the Golden State guard who was traded along with Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to the Milwaukee Bucks at the NBA trade deadline last week in exchange for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson (who was then dealt to the San Antonio Spurs for Richard Jefferson).
But is this reaction really about trading away Ellis after his seven seasons in the Bay Area, or does this have anything to do with being unable to land Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic over the last few months?
The fact Bogut won’t play this season and that Lacob maintains the franchise “hit a home run” with the trade probably isn’t going over so well.
Knowing the promises ownership made at the start of the season about this being the year Golden State returned to the postseason, chances are finishing as one of the worst teams – at 18-25 -- in the Western Conference isn’t helping matters any either. But does all of that deserve this kind of reaction?
"Obviously, probably has something to do with the recent trade and some of the fans being upset with that," Lacob said after the game.
"But I think that they will love us, the ownership group, that is, when we win. And we will win. I'm not going to let a few boos get me down, and I don't expect a few boos to get our team down. I think everybody has to stay tough, these are tough times, we're going to go out there and we're going to compete and we're going to win.
“And that's my job as an owner, too, we're going to do everything we have to do. Not going to let a few boos stop us. I obviously think whoever was booing is incorrect in their assumptions, but we'll just let time heal all wounds. Winning will solve all things."
Back in 2007 when the Warrors shocked the basketball world by upsetting the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the mantra was "We Believe". And for as much as the fans want to return to that time of making postseason noise, it's clear there is little to no faith in ownership at this time.
Even Joe Lacob can attest to that.