As the Golden State Warriors try to keep a years-long stretch of dominance alive in this year’s NBA Finals, another era will come to a close no matter the outcome of the series. Thursday’s Game 6 is the last game played in Oracle Arena, the oldest stadium in the NBA.
Opened in 1966, Oracle has been home to the Warriors since the 1971-72 season. In recent years, it has provided the backdrop to the NBA’s greatest spectacle: the rise and success of the Warriors. Starting next season, the team will move to the newly-built Chase Center in San Francisco.
“Just the atmosphere out there, the energy, the noise, over the last five years with our team’s rise, combined with that organic energy that this place has always had, it’s just been an incredible experience to coach here,” Warriors Coach Steve Kerr told NBC Sports.
In a video posted by the NBA on Thursday afternoon, Warriors players shared their thoughts on Oracle ahead of Thursday’s curtain call.
“Oracle is home,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said in the video. “It’s where I find the most joy playing basketball. I experienced a lot at Oracle. I really grew up as a basketball player there. It will always be my first home in the NBA.”
Curry tried to get off one last “tunnel shot,” his pregame ritual of shooting from the entrance of the locker room tunnel, before Thursday’s game. But with the Raptors choosing to use that basket before Game 6, Curry had to settle for a one-handed, full-court shot.
Oracle was rocking early on Thursday night as a tribute video to Kevin Durant drew thunderous applause from the home crowd. The arena got a proper send-off at the halftime break as Bay Area rappers E-40, Too $hort, Mistah Fab and G-Eazy collaborated on a show.
In the hours leading up to Game 6, tributes poured in on social media as players, coaches and fans described what Oracle means, or meant, to them.