Each day to start warmups at Raiders practice, the DJ starts the music. Today the first song was “Choices” by E-40 which is all about the Warriors. That selection was no doubt inspired by the Raiders neighbors winning the NBA championship Monday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Raiders Head coach Jack Del Rio said he isn’t the one who decides which music is played, but the East Bay native gave that one the thumbs up. He was in attendance for the game as an invite of some friends, so he got to witness the celebration firsthand.
“It was awesome to be over there last night and at the game and see the Warriors come through in a big way and win a world championship,” said Del Rio. “To do it with that crowd. The crowd was spectacular last night, full of energy and a lot of happy people going home last night.”
The parade, which will be the second in three years for the Warriors, will take place in Oakland on Thursday, but the Raiders players will be at their final minicamp practice that day and thus unable to attend.
Even without joining the city of Oakland as they celebrate another championship trophy for their city, the Raiders can feel the energy it brings and let it motivate them to make a run at a Lombardi Trophy.
To make that run, a good start would be to secure home field advantage, which eluded them with the loss in the season finale last season after Derek Carr was lost to a broken ankle. Home field would help their journey as well as allow the team to play in front of those same fans.
“Playing at home [in the playoffs], that’s something you have to earn. Certainly our fans here are the best and that atmosphere last night was electric and it was great to be a part of it. We’ve had big games here, regular season games, but obviously it all gets ramped up when it’s a playoff game. We’d love to earn those. That’s what it’s all about.”
Had Carr not been injured last year, there was every reason to believe they could have won that final game, secured a top seed and the home field for at least one playoff game. Now they are favorites to do just that heading into the season.
Carr himself is a Lakers fan, though he admits it was fun to watch the Warriors win, adding it “makes you hungry” as a competitor.
“When it’s the hometown team, I always root for them and just to see them do that and what it does for our city,” said Carr. “I feel like God placed those guys here, he placed us here on this team to impact this city, so whenever our city can enjoy good times like that, that’s what it’s all about.
“We love our fans. All the Warrior fans, most of them, are Raiders fans. If they don’t travel back across the Bay and root for that other team. It’s just whenever you’ve got something going on in the Bay Area there’s really no better place to win. It’s really cool.”
The elephant in the room here is the fact that both the Warriors and Raiders will be leaving this city and it’s great fan base.
Both teams’ relocations are already set in motion. The Warriors are getting a new arena in San Francisco in a couple years while the Raiders are, of course, headed for Las Vegas in three years.
The fans love watching their beloved team bring a trophy home, but it must have a bittersweet component due to the fact that those teams will be taking those trophies with them when they leave town.
At least for the Warriors fans, it’s a short BART ride away and the team will still represent the Bay Area. The Raiders fans will watch their team leave the state altogether and would have to hop a flight to see them play.
In that, there seems to be extra motivation for East Bay Native Jack Del Rio (Hayward) and California native Derek Carr (Bakersfield) along with teammates such as Oakland native Marshawn Lynch to bring a championship to the loyal Raiders fans in Oakland. Or maybe even a couple as the Warriors have done.