Entries in Rick Barry (4)


Good old Warriors had speed, quickness — like good new Warriors

By Art Spander

OAKLAND, Calif. — They came to remember and to inspire, champions of another era returning to hear cheers, and also to be heard.

They are men whose collective success more than 40 years ago is displayed on a banner hanging high in Oracle Arena — adjacent to banners earned by others in recent years,

The old Warriors, men now in their 60s and 70s. Cliff Ray, Rick Barry and others were back, telling tales and taking stock. And to his credit, Steve Kerr, coach of the current Warriors, invited Ray to practice, where Cliff spoke not so much of the good old days but the good new days.

“It was great to have those guys at shoot-around,” said Kerr. “They came in and talked to our players.”

Barry, Ray, Butch Beard, Jamal Wilkes, George Johnson. Charles Dudley and assistant coach Joe Roberts then watched the current Warriors, behind Steph Curry’s 51 points, beat the Washington Wizards, who were the Washington Bullets when the Warriors swept them in the 1975 NBA finals.

It was a time for nostalgia, and for acknowledgment. The old Warriors — Barry now is 74, Beard 71, Ray 69 — enjoy the new Warriors, Steph and Kevin et al, as much as the loyal crowd at the Oracle does.

“We were built on speed and quickness,” said Dudley, the guard nicknamed Hopper, “and they’re doing the same thing. One thing different is we used 10 and 11 men.”

The main man was the 6-foot-7 Barry, a Hall of Famer who could pass, shoot, run and maybe most importantly talk. He had an opinion on everything. Still does.

Those ’75 Warriors staggered out of the semis against the Bulls in seven games — similar to the way the ‘18 Warriors made it past the Rockets in seven games.

Barry had been benched. “I think I was 3 for 14,” he said. “But with George and Cliff Ray in the middle, we held them scoreless for seven and a half minutes. I wanted to go back in, but to Al Attles' credit, he kept me on the bench. Why break up what’s working for you?”

Attles, the head coach, was not in attendance Wednesday night, a bit of irony perhaps.  

After defeating the Bulls in ’75, the Warriors had to play the Bullets. One East Coast paper called the Dubs the worst team ever to reach the finals.

After losing the first three games, the Bullets attempted to instigate a fight between Barry and the less-talented Mike Riordan. Attles, known affectionately as “The Destroyer,” bulled out to save his star and was ejected. Roberts took over, with an iron hand.

“Everybody on our bench was saying something,” Barry recalled. “Joe shut them up. He was coaching.”

The Bullets had won three of four from the Warriors during the regular season.

“But one game I had a sore knee,” said Barry. “Another I just had a lousy game. They said Riordan could guard me. He was shorter than me, and I was faster than him. We matched up well with the Bullets. Cliff Ray could bang Wes Unseld around, and Jamal played great defense on Elvin Hayes.”

Though Attles, 82 and not feeling well, was unable to attend, his son, Alvin, was there, announcing the Al Attles Center for Excellence, an academic program.

Coach Attles believed in using all his players. “That was one of our advantages,” said Dudley. “Our bench was always stronger. Other teams would get tired.”

Now they might get tired of hearing how the Warriors won the title.

“The most valuable player was Clifford Ray, not me,” said Barry, who was chosen for that award in the finals. “The leadership Cliff showed was the difference. He called a players-only meeting.

“We were like family. I love all these guys. We had so much fun. It was such a great experience.”

Winning usually is.


S.F. Examiner: ’75 champs show what can be done by Warriors

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

He ran off the court and yelled to no one in particular, “It’s destiny.” At least that’s what was written. But Butch Beard isn’t quite sure what he shouted. Not from a distance of 40 years.

“Maybe I did say that,” Beard said, searching his memory. “That first game was sort of a miracle. We were way down. And then Hopper got in there.” Hopper was the nickname for Charles Dudley, whose frenzied play that first game of the 1974-75 NBA Finals brought back the Warriors from a 16-point deficit to victory.

Read the full story here.

© 2015 The San Francisco Examiner


SF Examiner: Booing of Lacob during ceremony was shameful, but understandable

By Art Spander
Special to The Examiner

You’ve heard it before. No good deed goes unpunished. What the man who owns the Warriors heard was a backlash of boos, which while reprehensible, also was understandable.

Joe Lacob has the keys to a kingdom he is trying to upgrade. The team is a work in progress. Patience is needed, we’ve been told.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2012 SF Newspaper Company


SF Examiner: Mieuli’s impact on Bay Area sports won't be forgotten

By Art Spander
Special to The Examiner

He put chandeliers in the Cow Palace and Rick Barry’s jersey behind an office door, delivered bags of fruit to sports writers and delivered a championship to the Bay Area.

You could call Franklin Mieuli eccentric. I preferred to call him passionate. He had a beard, a deerstalker hat and a love of life.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2010 SF Newspaper Company