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Hoop Dreams

Party down in style with the Golden State Warriors

By Tracie Broom

After a few bourbons, a short BART ride is painless, and the brisk walk over the Coliseum station's breezeway will help cool your liquored blush. As you approach the Oakland Arena you can smell the unmistakably beery scent of Sports Fans. It's exciting, it's for the Everyman and it's totally pro: it's the NBA!

Ask a San Franciscan, "What's your city's basketball team?" and you'll either get a blank stare or "uh, the Giants?" San Francisco doesn't have celeb-studded Laker games, and the USF Dons' little votive candle has gone dim. But the Golden State Warriors have been tearing it up in Oakland for years and it's high time San Francisco pulled its weight in the stands. It's pretty awesome, and here's why.

Big Beers Super-sized plastic bottles of Miller Lite notwithstanding, the draft beers at the Arena are huge (albeit expensive). Even better, there are LIQUOR BARS, which means that you can not only do tequila shots but also swill gin and tonics at your leisure. Ah, Gatsby.

Tasty Treats: If you're planning on flirting, avoid the Gordon Biersch garlic fries. For pure alcohol absorption, there's a multitude of nachos; for World Wrapps aficionados, there are plenty of wrapped foods; and for gourmands, there's the fine cuisine of the Courtside Club. Actually it's just high-end buffet fare, but it's a good place to score some dessert at halftime. You wouldn't think food is the first priority at a basketball game, but watch the guys as they walk into the arena: chore No. 1: pee; chore No. 2: get a sausage dog and a brewski.

Cushy Seats: For a few bucks, you can get sideline seats (or better, courtside), which feature special entrances as well as separate clubs with bars, bathrooms and food courts. It's not the Ritz, but with a mass of people milling about, it's nice to have a special area for cold-chilling. While you can't see the game live from inside any of the clubs, there's plenty of interesting human action to check out, from the Internet gold-rushers pounding cosmos in the Sideline Club to the NBA networkers doing a little moving and shaking in the Courtside Club. Courtside Clubbers, by the way, get free parking, a nice touch to counter the pro-ball chaos. In a nod to fans sitting behind the backboards, those sections are rockin', with lots of screaming, jumping and high-fiving, whereas the Club sections are more docile.

Mid-game Entertainment: How do they pay so many Warriors girls? Everyone loves to see large groups of females in skimpy costumes dancing in unison to Shania Twain. Even better, there are tons of skits and giveaways during timeouts. The Warriors mascot, Thunder, shoots T-shirts into the crowd with an airgun, a team of catwalkers drop parachuted prizes into the crowd from the rafters, and dudes in funny hats give away pizzas to the loudest section. It's a kid's dream come true.

The Kid Factor: Truth is, there are a LOT of kids at these games, making it hard to swear in good conscience. However, this doesn't deter some fans from shouting, "FUCK, you SONOFABITCH!" after a bad pass.

The Game: The Warriors aren't the biggest hotdoggers in the NBA, and they've been on a bit of a losing streak (11-32 as of Feb. 3), but they're our team and they do a damn fine job of staying close throughout most games. While there are precious few gruesome antics to entertain us, there are plenty of close shaves, providing fodder for whooping and hollering and almost spilling that $7 Märzen all over that kid with the balloon animal hat in front of you.

Fringe Benefits: If you're working for a dot-com, chances are your company will be taking a retreat or hosting a few morale-boosting activities this spring. The Oakland Arena's Grandview suites can hold 25 to 200 people in theater seating with catering that ranges from fatty to frou-frou. If you're down to party with the NBA, be the little birdy in your boss's ear. Free beer, good seats, basketball and dancing ladies is a good time, hands down.

Court Dates

The 411 on the Warriors' upcoming battles

Now that you're psyched to party with the NBA, go get 'em, tiger! Ticket prices range from $10 a seat (nosebleed, of course) to $300 per head (that would be courtside).

February schedule of home games:

Mon, Feb. 28 vs. Atlanta, 7:30pm
March schedule of home games:
Sun, March 5 vs. Indiana, 6pm
Tue, March 7 vs. Charlotte, 7:30pm
Thu, March 9 vs. L.A. Lakers, 7:30pm
Sun, March 12 vs. L.A. Clippers, 6pm
Sun, March 19 vs. Phoenix, 6pm
Fri, March 24 vs. Portland, 7:30pm

April schedule of home games:

Sun, April 2 vs. Milwaukee, 6pm
Wed, April 5 vs. L.A. Lakers, 7:30pm
Fri, April 7 vs. Utah, 7:30pm
Sun, April 9 vs. Denver, 6pm
Tue, April 11 vs. Vancouver, 7pm
Mon, April 17 vs. Minnesota, 7:30pm
Wed, April 19 vs. Phoenix, 7:30pm

Phone contact: 1.888.GSW.HOOP

Tickets online: www.tickets.com

For more information on the team, go to www.nba.com/warriors. For directions to the arena and information on luxury suites, go to www.gs-warriors.com

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From the February 21, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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