SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Steve Kerr stepped out of Chase Center on a gray winter afternoon and stretched both arms out to the sides, lifting his chin as he breathed in the cool air a few hundred yards from San Francisco Bay .
A little later, the Warriors coach carefully climbed steep metal stairs to reach the building’s highest vantage point and admired spectacular views in all directions – cargo ships in the water, the Bay Bridge at the beyond and the city skyline.
Kerr grew to truly appreciate the Golden State arena, even with all the emotions and fond memories of the franchise’s longtime home, Oracle Arena, a venue long known as one of the most imposing in the NBA. because of its deafening crowd. The team moved ahead of the 2019-20 season, then played the first four months of the pandemic-delayed 2020-21 season without fans.
“It didn’t feel like home for a long time as it coincided with all our injuries so you move into Chase the team is wiped out we lose night after night so the crowd isn’t into it” , Kerr reflected. “It was disconcerting. Oracle was familiar.
Kerr is still learning about all the hidden gems of Golden State’s 2-year-old arena, as he simply hadn’t had time to explore the entire building until recently.
That’s where the team’s director of engineering, Ian McDoom, came in to provide some behind-the-scenes insight into the 32-month project.
Now the Warriors are gradually building home-court advantage with hopes that it will one day look like it did before “when you come back to play at home, it actually feels like a home game,” Draymond said Green.
“I think the Bay has always supported their teams, no matter where they are, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Clara,” said Mavericks coach Jason Kidd, a former Cal Berkeley college star. “The crowd, when it starts moving, it’s as loud as anywhere in the league. They definitely have home-court advantage here.
In two weeks, Chase Center will host the West Regional of the NCAA Tournament — the first major event there other than a concert or NBA game. It will be the first time since the 1939 inaugural March Madness tournament at Treasure Island that San Francisco will host.
McDoom makes regular visits to make sure everything is going well on the big college basketball stage.
“How the arena turned out fabulous in terms of design,” he said.
Kerr certainly enjoyed seeing the places that make Chase unique – artistic elements at every turn, the entrance to the concert, musical tributes and even a wall featuring the 2015 championship floor with hundreds of autographs where he eventually found his own name among all the signatures.
At one point he stopped to admire a large photo of his players hanging in a hallway and instantly flashed back to that moment seven years ago during his first season as coach when the Warriors won their first championship in 40 years.
New visitors to March might marvel at the large murals, like the one outside depicting Stephen Curry eating popcorn, mosaics, and other distinct artistic elements.
Kerr said he still misses that loud, rocky Oracle Arena scene.
“Friendly confines like Ernie Banks used to say, Oracle, that’s what we felt,” Kerr said. “Between the difficulties of the team and the pandemic of last year, I think it’s taken all the way until now to really feel at home. Maybe a month, a few weeks after the start of the season, we came out of the doors hot and the fans were in, it was like, ‘Okay, now it’s like home.’
Golden State is gearing up for another playoff series that would be a first for this venue.
As the Warriors prepare for the stretch run, Kerr sometimes takes the team to the ninth-floor Sky Bar with its picturesque views of the bay for a meeting or a movie date. The on-site practice facility has no windows.
“With every building, it takes time to develop a personality,” McDoom said, walking with Kerr along the main lobby level. “It just takes that long to develop that personality and create that arena identity that thankfully we have a little more now.”
“Of course,” Kerr said. “It takes time.”