Some players are affected by sudden hate they encounter through social media and opposing fans. Others don’t really care. The Golden State Warriors are stuttering at the start of the season, and it seems that their new status as public enemies #1 in the eyes of the NBA fandom has taken a toll.
We try not to listen to the chatter, but it can have an effect on you if that’s all you hear when we’re outside in public. They want to paint you as whatever they’re saying about what type of team we are. They want to hate us, but I’ve said from the beginning, the way we play, people enjoy watching us play, so it’s going to be hard for them to not like us.
That type of thinking simply doesn’t fit the change in attitude towards the Warriors. It has nothing to do with their style of basketball anymore. As always, a team becoming too successful breeds sports-hatred. A team filled with stars who aren’t exactly shy about enjoying their success, not to mention stepping over the line when it comes to arrogance, becomes hated at a whole new level, even if their basketball is easy on the eyes.
Even if Iguodala’s assumption is right, the Warriors aren’t playing pretty basketball. Even a group that doesn’t like talking about doing poorly or admitting to it are saying that things are a bit and tense at the moment, too much for their liking. Iguodala, unlike Draymond Green who likes to say he relishes the reaction and booing from fans on road trips, admits that this team is affected by the negativity. Steve Kerr talked about that pressure coming down on the team as they were reaching for the record last season. The pressure on them is once again hurting their basketball, but it comes in different form. Not chasing history, but facing animosity that grew during their playoff run, and hit a new high when Kevin Durant signed with them.
Maybe Iguodala isn’t oblivious to the kind of hatred the Warriors are getting, and is simply trying to send out a calming message through the media to his teammates. After all, even if the Warriors lost their first game, it’s not like the beginning of this season has been a disaster. They’re 2-1, Kevin Durant is playing well and the Warriors will probably get better defensively as the season advances, even if they can’t be as good as they were last year.
Maybe it’s Iguodala being a bit older than the guys in the lineup, who are a lot more attuned to the voices and opinions expressed through social media about them. Or maybe he just sees this “hate” as a fad that will change the moment the Warriors play well. But from past experience, and LeBron James is the best example, the only way to make the hate go down a notch is by winning a championship. Until then, unless something else comes up in this season to divert the attention of the masses, the Warriors will be reminded of choking, of Kevin Durant being this and that, and of generally being a group of suddenly unlikable basketball superstars.