They were globally insignificant and, on the whole, an object of civic ridicule. There had been so much failure and futility, so much shameful history, so many years of shoddy product peddled by an infernally inept ownership.

So how could Warriors CEO Joe Lacob's brash promise -- to truly, seriously fix this franchise -- be greeted with anything but skepticism? Even optimists were withholding judgment until there was tangible proof.

And now, a mere 30 months after the Lacob-Warriors marriage was consummated with a solemn vow of superior quality and eternal commitment, we can see it and feel it.
Furthermore, the men on the roster that completed the most satisfying Warriors season in 36 years also can see it and feel it.

Traded to the Warriors last July, veteran guard Jarrett Jack was thrilled with a season that ended Thursday with a loss to San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals.

"As soon as I walked into the locker room, I looked down at my jersey," Jack said. "There's a sense of pride that I have wearing it that I haven't had as a professional."

This is a man who has been in the league for eight years, has played for five franchises. And he's talking about the Warriors.

Center Andrew Bogut, also finishing his eighth year, was acquired by the Warriors 14 months ago in a trade that sent star guard Monta Ellis to Milwaukee. Bogut senses there has been a dramatic change in franchise culture.

"I've been impressed with the organization since I got here," he said. "It's been sensational. Everything's first-class here. The stories heard prior to this year," he understated, "they weren't pretty stories."
The Warriors surely would, if they could, expunge the 16-year ownership of Chris Cohan. They'd wipe away such lowlights as the Don Nelson-Chris Webber spat that haunted the franchise for a decade, during which time another player, Latrell Sprewell, choked coach P.J. Carlesimo and received a one-year suspension.