For the past 29 seasons, Jim Barnett has been synonymous with Golden State Warriors basketball.
As the color commentator on Warriors’ television broadcasts, through the ups-and-downs (mostly downs) of the franchise, Barnett has seen it all, from the Run TMC days to the We Believe squad and the up-and-coming franchise in place today. Turn on the TV during a Warriors’ game, and there would be the soothing voice of Barnett. The 69-year-old former player has become a staple in the lives of countless Warriors fans.
Which is why it is shocking that he will be departing the booth at the end of this season. It was apparently a “mutual agreement” between Barnett and the ownership group that he would step down, but not many people are buying it.
Given Barnett’s age and tendency to curb the enthusiasm and “homerism” of play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald, Joe Lacob and Co. may be looking for someone younger to take over Barnett’s role and be more willing to dish out the Kool-Aid. Tom Tolbert has been rumored as a potential replacement, as he already calls all Warriors home games on the radio and hosts a daily radio show on the Warriors’ flagship station.
But while Tolbert may be a worthy candidate, there is no worthy replacement for Barnett. The man has been with the Warriors for nearly three decades, and calls the games with the same enthusiasm as he did 29 years ago. Check out these great pieces by Adam Lauridsen of FastBreak and Jordan Ramirez of WarriorsWorld for more on Barnett.
Both of them referenced the #KeepJim campaign that Warriors fans have started, and given that the Warriors do not play until Friday night, it has plenty of time to take off, like the #FullSquad movement did back in January.
Here are a few examples of what fans have already put up on Twitter:
— Killjoy (@KilljoyGSW) March 25, 2014
— Chuck Durnberger (@ChuckDurn) March 25, 2014
— Gabe Schillinger (@GabeofTheLegion) March 24, 2014
And yes, Barnett has a Twitter account, believe it or not, and he does respond to tweets:
— Jim Barnett (@uograd66) March 21, 2014
If this movement gains the same amount of traction as #FullSquad, then not only will it get Barnett’s attention, it may also force the hand of the ownership group to decide between its own selfish desires or the wishes of the best fanbase in the league.
#KeepJim. I can imagine watching a Warriors game without him in the booth.