Should the Golden State Warriors hang up a 73-9 banner?

April 13, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) runs onto the court before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
April 13, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) runs onto the court before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Golden State Warriors won 73 games in the regular season, but they lost in the NBA Finals. They should still hang up a banner, but not as a celebration.

The Golden State Warriors had one of the most incredible seasons in NBA history.

They also had one of, if not, the most disappointing finishes in league history as well. They built a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, only to falter at the most crucial point in the season eventually dropping three in a row (two of which were at home) to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Regardless of what the end result was, the process was amazing. The ride that was the 2015-16 season came to an unexpected stop after a quick, unforeseen dip, but the majority of the year was magnificent. Before their Finals loss, the Golden State Warriors broke the single-season record, finishing the year at 73-9.

The Warriors’ 2015-16 season was one of the most unforgettable seasons in professional sports we’ll ever see because of it’s jaw-dropping start and finish. They racked up the accomplishments and accolades, both as a team and individually. From the best beginning to a season ever to Stephen Curry‘s unanimous MVP selection, not a lot went wrong for Golden State.

Until it all went wrong.

The Dubs only lost 9 games in the regular season and they matched that total in the playoffs with their Game 7 loss at home serving as the poisonous cherry on top. It’s obviously not the ending they would have wanted, but it’s impossible to overlook their success over the larger part of the season.

When Joe Lacob bought the team, he looked up to the rafters, pointed, and said they wanted another banner to go with their 1975 championship. The Warriors have accomplished that by winning the 2015 NBA Finals, their first title in forty years. They were 48 minutes away from a second consecutive one, but instead, were sent into the offseason without the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors /

Their 73 wins happened. Regardless of their failures in Games 5-7 of the Finals, they still had the best regular season in NBA history. The 2015-16 season was still amazing, it just wasn’t perfect. While a championship was the ultimate goal–one that they didn’t accomplish–they still re-wrote the history books.

So should the Warriors hang a banner celebrating their regular-season record?

The Chicago Bulls have hung a banner commemorating what was once the record (alongside their championship in the same year). With their loss to the Cavaliers, the record-setting Golden State Warriors join the three other regular season wins leaders in the other major American sports.

The Seattle Mariners, a team without a title in its history, has a banner celebrating their division championship that season with “116” printed under. The Detroit Red Wings, a team with 11 Stanley Cup championships, have hung up a lot of banners, including conference and division titles. They also hang banners from winning the President’s Trophy, an honor given to the best team in the regular season, but they don’t include the numbers.

The New England Patriots, the most famous example of an awful fall, went 16-0 in the regular season and lost in the Super Bowl. Until they recently beat the Seattle Seahawks, they hung a banner honoring that perfect regular season. The Warriors and the Patriots are the only teams to actually lose in the championship round as both the Mariners and Red Wings fell earlier.

So there’s some precedent for hanging up banners in what are considered failed seasons. But, while setting the regular season record and not winning a championship is never easy, perhaps the Warriors’ loss is even worse.

The 2016 NBA Finals will go down as one of the most historic championship series in league histories, setting records and changing legacies forever. The Warriors’ became the first team to blow a 3-1 lead in the Finals and the first team. They became the casualty in the Cavaliers’ first championship and LeBron James‘ third. The lost at home on a game-winning three-pointer by Kyrie Irving.

More from Blue Man Hoop

The narratives just make the loss that much worse.

In the era of the Crying Jordan meme, you need to be perfect or else you’re the worst. The Warriors aren’t viewed as a great team, they’re considered on the same tier as the Philadelphia 76ers. What they accomplished over the course of over 100 games has been erased because of three games.

The Warriors should hang a banner, not as a celebration, but a reminder.

Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green were so close to being the greatest team of all-time and they let it slip away. Ever time they step into an opposing arena, especially in Cleveland and Chicago, they’ll be reminded of their failure. This core has been able to respond to adversity and doubts like no other team has, both on a team and player level.

Their title was questioned so they came out and won 73 games and came within five points of securing a back-to-back championship. They feed off negativity. This bunch hates losing and knows that they have an opportunity to be special.

They took their foot off the pedal against Cleveland and let them take the Finals away from them. They lost two games at home, including a Game 7. A banner should hang in Oracle Arena so every time they look up, they see it.

So that when they see it, they feel the pain of losing. So that they remember how lackadaisical they were. So that they remember how they let a championship slip away. So that they remember that nothing is guaranteed and they have to take anything.

Next: Warriors' Best Free Agent Signings Ever

It’ll be awful and the organization will surely get made fun of if they do it, but this team can use the motivation. They’re the most talented team in the NBA and, with Kevin Durant, got even better, but they need to focus. Games aren’t won on paper, they’re won on the court.

And they’ll hate looking up at it because they’ll feel the agony of defeat and the embarrassment of losing with advantages. They’ll see LeBron James falling on their home floor to shed tears of happiness all over again.

And the only way they can get rid of it? Replace it with a championship banner.