One of the conversations that has been going on under the radar here in the Bay Area is the dream of hosting a championship parade. Seeing the San Francisco Giants host three of them in the last five years on Market Street has became a regular spectacle for Bay Area sports fans. If the Warriors, based in Oakland, were to find a way to dethrone LeBron James and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, many have wondered whether the Warriors would host their parade in Oakland (where they reside) or in San Francisco (the big city in the Bay Area).
First noted last week and later re-confirmed on Thursday, reports surfaced that the mayors of Oakland and San Francisco have spoken and they’ve decided that the parade will be held in Oakland if the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship.
“Oakland has so much beauty,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “All those great shots around our Lake Merritt, people walking on tightropes, our majestic cranes that guard our waterfront […] it’s happening. I’ve invited (San Francisco) Mayor Lee to ride with me.”
There are many people who will read this and not understand what the big deal is. Heck, three years ago, I probably wouldn’t understand either. You probably wouldn’t understand unless you lived in the Bay Area. Let me try to humbly explain.
Because of the tech boom in Silicon Valley over the course of the last decade, the Bay Area has become the No. 1 living destination for anyone daring to dream in the tech industry. As such, places like San Francisco and San Jose have become the go-to cities for those who wish to tackle the industry created by companies like Google, Facebook, Intel and Twitter, to name a few. As a result, rents are too damn high (one time to Jimmy McMillian), all forms of transportation in the Bay Area can be a daily nightmare and the word “gentrification” is uttered by locals every fifteen minutes. This doesn’t mean that San Francisco and San Jose are bad places, no, they are awesome. However, things have definitely changed, for better or worse.
Then there’s Oakland, where ‘town bizness’ is a way of life. Things are just different here. I’ve never been a place where being yourself was so embraced and so encouraged.
Of course, the wave of change has also come to Oakland in many ways. The rent is sky high in Oakland, protests and outrage are constant due to the revolutionary past of this city and the constant local and national headlines that involve police brutality, social and economic inequality, injustice towards minorities and, oh? The Golden State Warriors are in the process of taking their team across the Bay Bridge to setup shop where? Of course, San Francisco.
The Warriors have served as one of the few shining lights in an East Bay landscape that includes the moribund and decrepit Raiders (who are also threatening to leave) and baseball’s biggest annual tease in the A’s (which are always thinking about leaving for San Jose, if not for San Francisco’s media rights claims). Sports fans of Oakland sports teams are very similar to the residents of Oakland, always the underdog, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Ready for change to be made, ready for the fight if need be.
Now, with the Golden State Warriors on the precipice of winning their first NBA title in 40 years and the first in Oakland since the A’s won it 26 years ago, the thought of having a championship parade across the bridge in San Francisco was on the table. In a world where no one cares about being fair, having the parade not in the city where the team plays would’ve been especially cruel. It would’ve been a devastating to Oakland.
However, with cooler heads prevailing and civic leaders signing off, the Warriors could possibly have a parade that goes from Broadway and Grand Avenue all the way down downtown and finishes off right on the water in Jack London Square. Riley Curry will give one of the greatest parade speeches of all-time. All walks of life will congregate in the streets to celebrate, the aroma of victory will be in the air, and E-40 will be sittin’ in his scraper watching Oakland go wild. Town Bizness will be in full effect.
The good thing is, the only people that can prevent this parade from happening is LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. You know, instead of the people in power who could’ve messed up a possibly great thing.