On The HoopsHype Podcast, Alex Kennedy was joined by The Athletic’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss, who wrote a new book about the Golden State Warriors’ extraordinary run (“The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty”). Ethan discusses his writing process, how the Warriors became a juggernaut, his unique relationship with Kevin Durant, where the team goes from here and more. Time-stamps are below!
1:00: Ethan talks about what it’s like having his book come out while everyone is stuck at home due to COVID-19.
2:30: Ethan discusses how he came up with this book idea and talks about the writing and reporting process.
4:25: When Ethan reached out to Kevin Durant about the book, Durant responded: “F**k you, f**k your sources and your book.” He talks about that, plus the player who was the most helpful while writing this book.
6:00: The Warriors’ run is unique because it happened in the modern, social-media era. Ethan discusses some things that Golden State had to deal with that teams in the ’80s and ’90s didn’t have to worry about.
7:50: At the start of the book, Ethan breaks down the dynamic between teammates and how they aren’t often as close as fans believe. In fact, sometimes they resent each other. He discusses this misconception.
12:20: Ethan believes that building a dynasty is easier than keeping one together, and he discusses why that is.
15:00: Warriors owner Joe Lacob once explained his Republican support to Ethan by saying, “When you make a lot of money, they try to take it. You wouldn’t understand.” Ethan talks about his interactions with Joe, who is sort of the real-life Gavin Belson from Silicon Valley.
16:20: The Warriors tried and failed to trade Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on numerous occasions. At one point, they tried to deal Curry and Thompson to New Orleans for Chris Paul. Ethan tells that story.
18:20: How much of the Warriors’ success is due to luck and how much is it due to their way of doing things? How much credit does Lacob deserve for the turnaround?
20:15: What are the biggest differences between Mark Jackson and Steve Kerr as far as how they ran the Warriors as head coach?
22:10: Ethan discusses the time Warriors assistant coach Lindsey Hunter threatened him because he didn’t like a certain article.
25:05: In February of 2019, Kevin Durant called out Ethan during a press conference. He shares what it was like getting that kind of national scrutiny and how it helped him understand what athletes have to deal with.
29:10: Durant badly wanted Warriors fans to love him and he’d get jealous of fan favorites like Curry, Thompson and Mo Speights, according to Ethan.
32:30: Ethan writes about how Durant would DM fans to ask why they loved Curry more than him. Did the fact that Curry was more beloved than Durant negatively impact their relationship?
37:15: Ethan discusses how Durant (who’s a Nike athlete) joining the Warriors negatively impacted Curry’s personal brand and Under Armour.
38:30: What are some things that the Warriors should have done differently?
39:40: Ethan discusses some people who don’t get enough credit for their behind-the-scenes role in the Warriors’ success.
40:50: Ethan shares some of his favorite stories that he was able to uncover while researching and reporting this book.
45:40: Next year, the Warriors’ core of Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green should be healthy and they recently added Andrew Wiggins. Do the Warriors have a realistic shot of competing for a championship next year?