The Warriors have won two of the last three NBA titles, won a record 73 regular season games the season in between those titles, and are heavy favorites to repeat as champions this season.
For the Warriors, they want to keep their eyes on the big picture — not just another title this season, but climbing up with the greatest NBA dynasties of all time. Specifically, they are looking at the 1990s’ Bulls. The Jordan-era powerhouses, Klay Thompson told ESPN’s Nick Friedell in a lengthy interview.
“What’s that, six championships in eight years?” Thompson said Saturday, when asked whether the Warriors were the closest thing the league had seen to the Bulls dynasty. “So we’re, what, like only a third of the way there? I think it’s close. We still have a long way to go, but I do see the fandom, the fanfare like the Bulls had in the ’90s.
“Every time the Bulls came to town, that was the ticket of the year. Now it’s when the Warriors come to town, that’s the must-see game. And we don’t take that for granted; that’s such a cool position to be in. We rarely play in front of a crowd that’s not sold out. That’s so special. It’s hard to really grasp that as a player. So I think it’s close. I still think we’re not on their level yet, but that’s what we aspire to be of the 2000s. We aspire to be that dynasty that will be in the minds of NBA fans forever.”
Right now, the Warriors are the hot ticket like the Bulls — they are the biggest road draw in the NBA (more coming on that early next week). With all due respect to a solid Memphis team, when they visit Orlando the building is not full, there are not large crowds in the arena early to watch guys warm up. But the Warriors — with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest — sell out buildings and create a buzz. They are a traveling rock show.
The Warriors are also a long way from that Chicago goal. Right now they are more along the lines of the Bad Boy Pistons who dominated for a short stretch with a distinctive style. Keep winning and we can start to talk about them like the 1980s Celtics, then the 1980s Lakers, and eventually the Bulls. But there is a lot of that mountain left for the Warriors to climb.
Still, I’d rather have the players thinking and dreaming big than just coasting. The Warriors should be driven by legacy now.