OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors are ready to celebrate yet another Ring Night on Tuesday as they open up the regular season against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but All-Star guard Stephen Curry acknowledges that the ring celebration is unlike anything the team does all season.
“The ring ceremony is honestly the weirdest night of the year,” Curry said recently. “You’re celebrating something that happened four months ago and then you got to appreciate the moment, see the banner fall, feel the energy from the crowd, then you got to put the rings back, go warm up for two and a half minutes and then play an NBA basketball game where the other team is just salivating, waiting to get ahold of you after seeing the whole ring ceremony. So it’s our third time going through it, I think we’re 1-1 the last two, but it’s just a weird night all the way around. A lot of celebration, but for us we can’t really sit and just relax after you get the ring like we did something because that’s old news by that point. So we’ll be ready to go.”
Warriors teammate Klay Thompson echoed a similar sentiment to Curry’s, in that the celebration, followed up quickly by the preparation for a new game in a new season, makes for a strange combination.
“It definitely is,” Thompson said. “We’ve had one great ring night, one bad one. It is a different feel obviously. Especially the lead-up and the hype to the game, but I’d rather have a ring night every year than not have one that’s for sure.”
In the end the Warriors are happy to deal with the range of emotions because they know all the hard work that it took to get there.
“[Tuesday] will be fun,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Monday’s practice. “It’s a huge night, an emotional night. A night to celebrate. A night for our fans to enjoy. And then you got to tip it up right after and that’s the challenge. You got to make that transition from celebrating to competing just like that. Fortunately we’ve been through it a couple times and hopefully we’ll adapt quickly and get into the flow of the game.”
For Kerr, who has won eight NBA championship rings as both a player and coach, the celebration prior to the game never gets old.
“They’re just really fun and exciting,” Kerr said. “The best part is watching the banner go up because that’s the whole point of what we’re trying to do every year — you’re trying to hang a banner for the franchise and for each other and for the fans. So it’s a proud moment; the rings are great, they’re obscenely beautiful, but the moment the banner goes up is always the best for me.”
Warriors superstar Kevin Durant is looking forward to the festivities as well.
“Just the energy in the building,” Durant said. “Everything. From what we’re going to be wearing to actually getting our rings and raising the banner, it’s going to be an amazing night. Hopefully we come out and handle business on the basketball court.”
Durant is confident that he and his group will be able to do just that. As the Warriors watch a championship banner rise to the rafters, Thompson says a range of thoughts washes over him.
“I think about everything,” Thompson said. “From my childhood to the journey it took to get here. And I think about when I was being drafted by the Warriors — to have the third banner going up, I definitely did not see that happening. So it’s been a special, special time these eight years and hopefully the next eight are even better.”