The Warriors hadn’t won the NBA championship for decades. It had been a long time since they’d even won their division. So when they finished the regular season atop the Pacific Division, fans across the nation were surprised, including the partisans of Golden State. They then rolled through the playoffs and won the championship. That team seemed to come out of nowhere, but led by a superstar, with an underrated supporting cast, they won it all.
Led again by their superstar, they dominated the next year’s regular season, finishing with the best record in the NBA. In fact, they set a franchise record for most wins in a season. This time, no one was surprised.
And then, in the Western Conference finals, they were defeated. No repeat championship.
I’m talking, of course, about the mid-70s Warriors, led by Rick Barry.