With their new championship banner hanging high in their gym the NBA World Champion Golden State Warriors held their annual Media Day at the teams facility in downtown Oakland Monday.
Media Days are usually 'love fests' as most players haven't seen each other since the season ended. Most are busy spending time with their families, getting married (Andre Iguodala) and traveling to South Africa to play in the first annual NBA Africa (Festus Ezeli) game.
Warriors center Festus Ezeli could be seen moving around using his camera phone to sneek and capture his friend and teammate Harrison Barnes' press conference on video.
The leagues MVP Steph Curry kicked off the press conference sharing his brightest spot of the off-season, the birth of his second child, a daugther he and wife Ayesha named Ryan; he also enjoyed playing golf with President Obama.
General Manager Bob Meyers kept his promise to fans that he'd re-sign Draymond Green in the off-season and head coach Steve Kerr's staff has some minor changes; Justin Holliday is no longer a Warrior and Alvin Gentry is now the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Fans are excited about the drafting of UCLA guard Kevon Looney and the addition of recently retired and future Hall of Fame guard Steve Nash (Player Development Consultant) to their front office. The team also introduced Chelsea Lane as Head Performance Therapist to their Sports and Medicine Staff.
The players know as reigning champions they are the team to watch this season and every other team will be gunning for them but they're prepared.
"I think it will be something we're going to have to see a few times. I think it was starting to happen last year towards the end of the season based on how we started out, but definitely after kind of solidifying our stance in the league as far as winning the championship, we'll be the targets," said Andre Iguodala sabout being the hunted versus the hunter.
Sports in the Bay had a chance to catch up with the following players.
STEPHEN CURRY - Guard
Sports in the Bay:You had talked about making the talk show rounds, but what was it like for you taking a back seat to Ayesha who is quite the talented chef in her own right? What was it like going on the Rachael Ray show?
SC: That was fun because I got to be, like you said, on the other side of it and sit in the crowd and watch her do her thing. Then, obviously, I got the taste test at the end which is never a bad thing. As I said, it's fun that she has her own thing going on, and I'm obviously going to support her. It's nice to be able to go and be there for her. She's at every game that I go to when I play, and I want to be able to return the favor.
DRAYMOND GREEN - Forward
SITB: You said you hadn't bought anyone anything, but it popped in my head, did Steph come through on the gift that you asked for when he got MVP?
DG: Steph did his press conference yet?
SITB: Yeah, he did.
DG: You didn't ask him?
SITB: I forgot. It just popped in my head when you mentioned not buying anything.
DG: I'm not into throwing anyone under the bus. Maybe y'all can ask Steph that.
SITB: I can read between the lines. And the other thing was there anyone in particular that you got really excited about meeting in the off-season?
DG: Oh, I mean, I met a ton of people this off-season. You know, I've kind of focused in more on the business side of things, as well, and trying to focus on some things that I have a passion about and that I want to get done, and so I met a lot of people in that world that I enjoyed meeting. There wasn't really one person in particular, but I met a lot of good people this summer.
SITB:I asked Klay the same question; you spoke briefly about being a man, but at 25 years old, what did you learn about yourself as a man and as a player this off-season?
DG: I learned a lot. You know, it was kind of foreign territory for -- it was foreign territory for all of us, coming off a championship. I really learned how to manage my time more. You kind of move into a space where your time is not as much of your time as it was before, and you learn how to manage all that, do the things that you want to get done, but also make sure you take care of things that you know need to be done and that has to be done, as well, and still enjoy what you're doing. I think that was big for me is just learning how to manage all the things that I have going on, that a lot of us had going on, and making sure that, number one, you're still getting your workouts in, you're still continuing to get better at your game, you still find the time for your family, you still find time to spend time with your friends, the people that's important to you, while taking care of your business, as well. I think that was one of the biggest things for me this summer.
KLAY THOMPSON - Guard
SITB:Do you recall the time when it hit you that you were not dreaming and you had actually won the World Championship? Also, what have you learned about yourself as a man, as a player this off-season?
KT: Oh, wow. That's a great question. Well, I think it hit me during the parade just to see how united the Bay Area was and to see a million people in the city of Oakland. That was one of the most amazing things I'd seen in my life. It's motivating because I want to have it again. It was such a beautiful day on the lake. That's something we'll never forget and a moment we shared with our teammates and family.
So I learned about myself -- what did I learn about myself in this off-season? That's a deep question. I learned that I have a great support system because my family at home they're up late every night watching the whole season, not just the playoffs but it hit me during the parade it motivated me to really want to do it again to see my family and see how many basketball fans were in my father's home country of the Bahamas is really special. Now that is the highlight of my off-season as well.
FESTUS EZELI - Center
SITB: What was the highlight of your off-season? And if you could put a hashtag to describe your season, what would it be and why?
FE: To describe the season, hashtag team work makes the dream work. That's the part where it became the dream of us all. The highlight of my off-season, you said? The highlight of my off-season is a toss up between the Africa games which was also while we were down there we did a lot of charity work as well and did a lot of things.
I didn't know how much input the NBA had in Africa in terms of charity. In terms of we visited so many orphanages and did camps and things like that. The toss up was between that trip and my trip to Nashville. I took the trophy as well back to my school where I felt like I laid my basketball foundation. While I was there I just celebrated this special moment with people that have supported me throughout my career. So it was a toss-up between both of those.
Golden State will be playing their first pre-season game of the year in San Jose on Monday, October 5 at the SAP Center in San Jose.