OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Legions of long-suffering fans will be cheering on the Golden State Warriors tonight. It's been 40 years since the team won an NBA title. ABC7 News spoke with a consumer psychologist to learn why fans are so loyal to a team with so many lean years.
Warriors fans are legendary. They live up to the dictionary definition of a fanatic -- someone with excessive enthusiasm and intense devotion. We call ourselves Dub Nation, and it seems some fans' identity and self-esteem are wrapped up in how well the team performs. But consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow with Golden Gate University believes the allegiance is less about supporting the team's ups and downs and more about fans supporting each other.
"It's almost like the team is the conduit for them to connect with each other," she said. "It's the shared passion that makes it really potent."
Shared love is what led Ron Lennon and J. Wells to write their ode to the Warriors called "Splash." With video support from team management, their video has become a YouTube sensation capturing the bond.
"Through the thick and thin, I stuck it out," Lennon said. "I'm just a big fan of them. And yeah, I didn't really care if they were losing, I always watched them.
Even in the bad years, the arena was filled.
"We are dying as a society to feel like we're part of things that are bigger than us," Yarrow said.
The team has used that video to rev up the home crowd. Too bad they can't play it in Cleveland.
ABC7 sports reporter Mike Shumann and reporters Wayne Freedman and Laura Anthony will be in Cleveland this week to bring you full coverage on the NBA Finals. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for live updates.