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Golden State Warriors Fans Rejoice Over Team's First Win In 40 Years

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

If all of northern Ohio groans when they hear this next story, we completely understand. But, hey, it was a good run. You probably know where this is going. The Golden State Warriors clinched the NBA title last night with a Game 6 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was going to be a great story, no matter which team won. For Warriors fans, it's the first title in 40 years. Youth Radio's Denise Tejada talked with some of those fans.

DENISE TEJADA, BYLINE: So what does it mean to be one of the Warriors biggest fans?

CECILIA NGUYEN: It means everything, especially coming from the Bay. The Warriors have been my team ever since I was little.

TEJADA: That's 22-year-old Cecilia Nguyen. She grew up watching Warriors games with her family. She stocked up on Warriors gear the day of Game 6. Walk around Oakland, and you can't avoid seeing all the blue and gold Go Warriors signs plastered on walls and windows and people sporting their bright yellow Warrior shirts, even down to the toddlers.

Can everybody say Warriors?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Warriors.

TEJADA: I bumped into the Chavarria family at the Warriors team store at the Oracle Arena. They were all decked out, including the dad, Jorge.

JORGE CHAVARRIA: A long time waiting for it.

TEJADA: Who's your favorite player?

CHAVARRIA: Curry, of course (laughter).

TEJADA: Why is that?

CHAVARRIA: Three-pointers all the time, you know? That's what counts.

TEJADA: Well, how does it feel to be able to share this with the little ones?

CHAVARRIA: It feels great (laughter).

TEJADA: Yeah?

CHAVARRIA: It feels great. Yeah.

TEJADA: The Warriors have energized a new generation of fans with a young team of players who have never played at the finals, let alone won the world championship. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and their teammates became local folk heroes this year. They've inspired people with what's been called their unselfish way of playing the game. They respect one another on and off the court, says Curry.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STEPHEN CURRY: I'm just so happy for every single guy on that team 'cause none of us have experienced this before, and this is something they can never take away from us. And we have a brotherhood that will last for a lifetime.

TEJADA: The Warriors' last win, 40 years ago, was shortly after the team moved to Oakland. Since then, they've gone without a championship win. Fans stayed loyal throughout four decades of hard losses. The Warriors play for the wider Bay area, but they belong to Oakland. For the town, this victory is extra special. Mayor Libby Schaaf says this win is a symbol for Oakland.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

LIBBY SCHAAF: Oakland has always been a city that is persistent and sometimes a little scrappy. And that demonstrates when people get together, put aside their differences and work towards a common goal, victory is assured.

(APPLAUSE)

TEJADA: Oakland residents are holding on extra tight to this victory since the Warriors are scheduled to move to San Francisco in 2018, but the deal is not a slam dunk. Public hearings are ongoing. In the meantime, to celebrate the victory, the Warriors have planned a parade for Friday. The route goes through downtown streets and into nearby neighborhoods. Fans are expected to line up as early as 5:00 a.m. For NPR News, I'm Denise Tejada.

BLOCK: That story was produced by Youth Radio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.