We Believe: It’s the mantra the Warriors embraced in 2007 when they finally made the postseason after a 13-year drought, and then stunned the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round.
Fast forward to 2011. The Mavericks are world champions. The Warriors ... well, they haven’t made the playoffs since.
There’s hope in the Bay Area, though, as the organization is under new ownership, has a new coach in Marc Jackson and is beginning to build around the talented backcourt duo of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. With the lockout putting any NBA basketball on temporary hold, fans won’t have the chance to see the 2011-12 Warriors play until at least December — and possibly into next year if labor talks continue to stall.
Enter former Warrior Matt Barnes, a native who lives in the Bay Area during summer and has organized the We Believe vs. Dub Charity Basketball Game, which will feature players from the current squad taking on some of the players from the magical team in 2007. The Warriors quasi-reunion game is scheduled for Saturday at the San Jose Event Center.
“With the lockout, we’re all thirsty to do something,” Barnes said. “I got the idea from a friend of mine who’s a promoter in the Bay Area. He approached me about doing an old vs. new Warriors game, and then I thought how it’d be cool to do it with 2007 team. That team is pretty legendary.”
Highlighting the current “Dub” team are Ellis, Curry and forwards David Lee and Dorell Wright, while the “We Believe” team will feature Barnes, Jason Richardson, Al Harrington and even a few former Warriors who weren’t on the team when We Believe went down (Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson).
Not confirmed, however, are team leaders Stephen Jackson and Baron Davis. While Jackson likely will miss the game, Barnes said there’s still a chance Davis could play.
“He may be a surprise last minute — he’s not out yet,” Barnes said, adding with a laugh, “He’s just a funny dude. He could just show up at game time.”
While a portion of all proceeds will go to Matt Barnes’ Athletes vs. Cancer Foundation, the Los Angeles Laker said it will be more than just a casual exhibition.
“It’s a charity game but I think it’s going to be a very competitive game,” he said. “It’s still bragging rights for guys to come showcase their skills.”
As to who will win, Barnes thinks it will be a tough-fought game and wouldn’t guarantee a victory for “We Believe,” but said it would be a different story with Davis and Jackson in town.
“I think if we had our full 2007 team, they wouldn’t be able to touch us.”
We Believe vs. Dub Charity Basketball Game
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: San Jose Event Center