OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — For the second straight year, throngs of fans celebrated the Golden State Warriors with a parade for a team some are calling a basketball dynasty.
Throngs of fans in gold and blue T-shirts and holding signs that read “Dynasty” and “Back to Back Champions” took their places behind barriers set up along the route hours before the celebration, which was to start at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday in downtown Oakland, California.
As many as 1 million came out to cheer Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the rest of the Warriors, who won their third title in four years.
The NBA champions have gone back-to-back, beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 on Friday night to finish off a four-game sweep of these NBA Finals in the fourth consecutive meeting between these clubs.
Oakland resident Jasmine Culp, 36, painted her lips blue and dressed in a sparkling golden sequined dress, sash, and blue-gold feather accessories to attend the parade with her three children, Jonavon, Jewel, and Cypher.
“It’s our new family tradition,” she said. “We love to kick off the summer here and we love to dress up.”
Culp acknowledges it could be the family’s last parade in Oakland, since the Warriors plan to move to San Francisco next year.
“It’s sad to see a big part of our city move away,” she said. “Not going to want to travel over the bridge to see them, but we will.”
Oakland city streets have been lined with gold and blue banners and shop and restaurant owners along the parade route say they are getting ready to open their businesses during the celebration.
Fasil Lemma, who owns De Lauer’s Newsstand, said he will be selling the new championship T-shirts and gear from past championships.
“It’s very exciting,” Lemma told the East Bay Times. “We want to serve the community.”
The parade started at 11 a.m. and wound through downtown streets.
Unlike other years, the parade won’t end at a rally near Lake Merritt. Instead, there will be large Jumbotron-type screens set up along the route that will feature members of the team talking in real time and answering the questions of a few lucky fans.
“We wanted to make it more intimate, free flowing and, frankly, more exciting,” Raymond Ridder, the team’s vice president of communications, told the newspaper. “We will now have more fans along the parade route, creating more of a buzz, giving fans closer/direct access to players and, ideally, it will keep the event moving/flowing.”