San Francisco Rumors

Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts still will have a reason to celebrate if his team doesn’t win the NBA championship: he’s been named as the celebrity grand marshal of San Francisco’s gay pride parade. The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee announced Monday that it had selected the 58-year-old sports executive for the honor previously enjoyed by such notables as singer Cyndi Lauper, actor Cheyenne Jackson and transgender activist Chaz Bono.
But, a former financial advisor he’s suing in Bexar County for more than $1 million wants a federal judge to force Duncan to arbitration in California, or to move a portion of the suit to Colorado. U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to take up motions by defendant Charles Banks, who says the investment agreements Duncan signed specify that all disputes over Duncan’s investments in hotel and winery businesses must go to arbitration in San Francisco or Los Angeles.
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Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber made a public commitment soon after buying the team from Cohen in 2010 that they would privately finance a new arena, without any money from Bay Area municipalities, in San Francisco. The costs of the new building and surrounding developments in the Mission Bay area of the city are estimated at $1 billion. Lacob and Guber spent $450 million on the team and they’re committing up to a billion for the new digs. They have to start making their money back at some point.
In 1988, the Pistons moved even further north — 31 miles north of Detroit on Interstate 75 — to Auburn Hills, where auto-affiliated companies like BorgWarner, the parts manufacturer, and Autoliv, which makes seatbelts, airbags and other safety products, have their corporate headquarters. “It certainly went from being a blue-collar crowd at the Silverdome to a white-collar crowd,” said Joe Dumars, who played 13 seasons in Detroit after being drafted by the Pistons in 1986. “We used to always acknowledge that. The Silverdome crowd were the assembly workers who built the cars, and the Palace crowd was the executives of the auto companies.” But the move to Auburn Hills was nonetheless a financial boon for the franchise.
The new arena will seat 18,000, less capacity than the 19,500-plus that have sold out 133 consecutive games at Oracle. There are local groups that oppose building at the new site, which is near a children’s hospital, because of concerns about egress to the hospital on game nights. But the city issued an 800-page environmental impact study on Friday that claimed it would be able to handle the additional traffic that would develop in the area if the arena — scheduled to open for the 2018-19 season — gets final approval.
Even as it prepares to host Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night at Oracle Arena, the city is left to wonder whether this Warriors run represents its last shot at a major sports championship. Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who grew up in the neighboring town of Alameda rooting for the A’s and Warriors (the Raiders were mostly in L.A. at the time), pondered the prospect of the clubs abandoning the East Bay with sadness. “It would be a sports-bankrupt city, or side of the bay,” he said. “You know what happens when sports franchises and big businesses leave. Places become very desolate. Somehow, someway, sports has a way of curbing crime. It gives you something to do, something to watch.”
The Golden State Warriors’ plans for an 18,000-seat arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay are suddenly running into big-time political problems. An anonymous group of what organizers describe as big-bucks donors to UCSF hired an imposing cast of consultants — including former UCSF Senior Vice Chancellor Bruce Spaulding and, for a time, Chronicle columnist and former Mayor Willie Brown — to block the plan for the arena and adjacent twin office towers in Mission Bay near the waterfront. Also on board, and working without pay: Jack Davis, once the biggest political consultant in town and still a force to be reckoned with in semi-retirement. “This arena is going to essentially ruin decades of good work and planning in Mission Bay and make it impossible for people to access the hospital there,” said public relations pro Sam Singer, who has also been hired by the antiarena forces.
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The Warriors are hoping to break ground on their new arena project shortly after the start of 2016 and have the venue completed in July or August 2018, team president Rick Welts said Tuesday. Welts said there was not a way for the Warriors to have the 18,000-seat arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood about a mile from AT&T Park ready by 2017, so they would stick with their original timeline of opening for the 2018-19 season. The Warriors released renderings of the interior of the arena for the first time as Welts spoke at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s Public Policy Forum.
The Warriors released renderings of their San Francisco arena Wednesday, flushing previous drawings that made it appear to look like a toilet bowl. Likening the arena’s initial look to a child’s “awkward phase,” lead architect David Manica unveiled at a press conference at Dogpatch Saloon a different vision of what the 18,064-seat arena could look like in the Mission Bay neighborhood. “Fantastic” was how Manica described the open vistas of San Francisco Bay from the view deck of the arena that was once seen as the rear edge of a toilet seat. The arena will be situated beside a newly constructed waterfront park. “It has been an intense, but incredible effort to get us to this point,” Manica said.
The Lead Architect for the Warriors project is David Manica of MANICA Architecture. “We’ve learned a great deal throughout this process. This new design is the culmination of excellent community input and a commitment from this franchise to create a world-class design that San Franciscans will be proud of,” Manica said. “It’s an ongoing process, and we will continue to involve the public as we move forward.” Craig Dykers, of Snohetta, is the Senior Design Advisor and a key member of the Warriors’ design team. The Warriors will announce architects for other elements of the project, including the office buildings, in the coming months.
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The Golden State Warriors unveiled a design update for their new sports and entertainment center at Mission Bay today, including new full-color renderings that offer the public a glimpse at what the venue will look like when it opens in time for the 2018-19 NBA season. “We believe this plan is a perfect fit for Mission Bay, for San Francisco, and for the entire region,” said Joe Lacob, Co-Executive Chairman and CEO of the Warriors. “Our goal is to not only build a world-class arena for our team and our fans, but also create a vibrant place that residents and visitors will want to enjoy, whether on game days or any other day.”
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After his day shift at Alcatraz, Hernan attended night school at USF and saw many of the Dons’ wins. “The whole world knew that Bill Russell was not an ordinary basketball player,” Hernan said. “If ever there was a team leader, he was it. K.C. Jones was right behind him.” That season, the Dons became the first team in NCAA history to go undefeated, finishing 29-0, and Russell posted 26 points and 27 rebounds in the final against Iowa, an 83-71 win, giving the Dons back-to-back titles. The Chronicle called them “the finest undergraduate team since Naismith first hung the peach basket.” Utah coach Jack Gardner called them “the greatest team ever assembled.” And the convicts of Alcatraz wanted to meet them.
So the day Russell & Co. strolled through marked a true rarity: a memory convicts could savor. Which makes its lack of publicity all the more mysterious. For reasons no one can quite explain, the visit by the most popular sports team in the area — and the most dominant college basketball team in the country — stayed hidden, it appears, until Luke mentioned it halfway through his self-published book, “Entombed in Alcatraz,” released in 2011. “Everyone was startled to see them,” Luke wrote, “but it was a nice change.” A change that, however brief, allowed these notorious convicts to feel and act like regular joes, connected through something that has connected so many, no matter how different, for so long: sports. There is more to their trip, and to basketball’s story on Alcatraz. Radios. Gambling. Racial tension. A convict vote. Basketball goals erected in the recreation yard. Clint Eastwood. And, improbably, Rajon Rondo. And none of it would have unfolded without the warden, Paul Madigan.
For the visit, the team dressed sharply, in jackets and ties. “The warden told us, ‘When you walk through the cell block, they’re going to announce you’re walking through,’ ” Boldt said. The reaction was something the players wouldn’t forget. “They all cheered us,” Boldt said. “They said, ‘That’s the way to go, Dons!’ “They treated us like we were gods. I’m not kidding. Like rock stars. That was it. “They all cheered and clapped their hands. They said to Russell, ‘That’s the way to go there, big black brother!’ They cheered us and they were very happy to have us there.” Convicts fired away with basketball questions and comments. One told Farmer, “I remember against SMU, you had 26 points in the Final Four. You were a great player.” But they were truly fond of Russell, who averaged 20.6 points and 21 rebounds that season. “They looked at Bill Russell like he was God,” Boldt said. Said Farmer, “He was very popular.”
Wax museums have an air of creepiness to them because of the slight feeling in the back of all visitors’ minds that the figures look so real, they might actually be. But because it’s a wax museum and not a place where famous people actually sit or stand still for hours on end, they likely are not. Until Jeremy Lin changed everything. The Lakers guard frightened guests at the unveiling of his wax figure at Madame Tussauds San Francisco by doing exactly the kind of thing everyone has nightmares about: Coming to life when guests thought he was just a statue.
Welts said that the Warriors have also guaranteed that every employee at Oracle will have a chance to transfer their job to the new building, which is eight miles away, across the San Francisco Bay. They’ve also guaranteed to their season-ticket holders that their seats will be guaranteed in the new arena. “Oracle Arena is the oldest arena in the NBA, and it’s served great for 50 years,” Welts said. “But there comes a point in time where if we’re going to be the franchise that we aspire to be, we’re going to need a new playing facility. And in our view, San Francisco is the right place to be if you have the same aspirations we have, to be truly one of the great franchises in sports.”
The Golden State Warriors have agreed to terms to buy 12 acres of land in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood to build a new arena. The Warriors announced Tuesday that they would buy the land from salesforce.com. The team was originally hoping to build a new arena on San Francisco’s waterfront but those plans faced opposition from critics concerned about traffic, environmental issues and blocked views of the Bay Bridge. The proposed arena will hold about 18,000 seats and the Warriors say it will be privately financed on private land near the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark.
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Once the Warriors backed away from their stated goal to have the arena completed for the 2017-’18 season, it was inevitable that Lacob and Guber would be looking for alternate sites and that something in the Mission Bay area would be far more logical. I caught up with Lacob on Monday night in Los Angeles, where the Warriors were playing the Clippers in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. Here is the transcript of the interview: -Q: So you for sure are at the Mission Bay site? This is the final deal for the new Warriors arena? -LACOB: The boats have been burned, that’s the way we like to put it. We’re definitely doing this and we’re very excited about it. Look, I read the piece you did this afternoon–you need to get a little more data. You really do. This is a much, much, much, much more doable site at the end of the day.
The Warriors have moved off of their long-stated plans to build an arena at Piers 30/32 in San Francisco and have bought land a little further south. The new spot is not aesthetically ideal—not right on the water, not framed by the Bay Bridge for TV visuals, not where Joe Lacob and Peter Guber held their splashy press conference starring David Stern and Ahmad Rashad two years ago. But the “ideal” spot was Piers 30/32 and several of us have been documenting for years now that the logistics and political hurdles at Piers 30/32 were just too much.
Q: So where are you spending most of your time these days? Phil Jackson: I spend it in L.A. I split my time, but I spend more of it in L.A. The winter’s a little bit daunting in Montana. I’m going up there this week though, this coming week. My youngest son is getting married in June, and he’s having a bachelor party up there. They’ve invited me to the bachelor party. Q: You got invited, huh? That’s usually where we keep the dads away. Phil Jackson: I know. He’s a different guy, a poet. He teaches at San Francisco, USF, and he just wants to have some elders, so he asked a couple of older guys to come. But he and his twin brother, who’s running the thing, went to college in Colorado, so they’re very at home on the slopes so they’re going up. Their guys, the eight of them or so, not all of them are as efficient or as good on the slopes as they are.
More than 21,000 signatures were submitted to San Francisco’s Department of Elections today in support of a measure for the June ballot that would impose tighter restrictions on waterfront development, including a proposed basketball arena. The initiative would require voter approval for any future waterfront development on city or Port of San Francisco property that would require an increase in existing height limits. The proposal is being brought forth by the Sierra Club and the No Wall on the Waterfront coalition, which last year used the city’s referendum process to defeat a luxury waterfront condominium project that was planned at 8 Washington St.