On Saturday history will be made when the Warriors play their first game ever at the Chase Center in San Francisco – and holding her breath will be the new waterfront arena’s General Manager Kim Stone.
Stone, who previously managed American Airlines Arena for Florida’s Miami Heat, said she always wanted an opportunity to call the Bay Area home, ever since she was a college student and visited her father in the East Bay. That opportunity came when, she said, Warriors President Rick Welts reached out.
“I want to go to the Russian River, I want to go hiking in Yosemite and I want to sit on the couch and eat popcorn with my son watching movies,” Stone said.
None of which is likely to happen soon, as she has a $1 billion arena to run. “This is the best arena in the NBA,” she said. “There was no expense spared.”
As the general manager of Chase Center, Stone has been quietly working behind the scenes for the last four months to get the arena ready for its big debut.
“I want this to be a community gathering spot,” she said.
Creating that “destination experience” meant leaving Florida and the Miami Heat where Stone spent 23 years working her way up from part-time stats crew to team executive vice president and general manager of American Airlines Arena, and most recently as head of business development.
“It was a job I could have easily retired in, but for me that’s not what life is about,” said Stone. “I wanted a second chapter in life.”
Stone has settled in San Francisco with her wife and their 8-year-old son, who’s happy to play tour guide.
“My son is a huge fan of the zoo. He has taken me there and has toured me through the San Francisco zoo,” she said.