Guy Behind “We Believe” Stops Believing

If the guy who handed out literally thousands of free "We Believe" signs in Warrior game parking lots gives up on the team, then who isn't going to give up on the team?

Paul Wong of Alameda, regular guy and proprietor of the Hawaiian Drive Inn, is the one-man fan force behind the "We Believe" slogan that became the catchphrase of the Warriors' 2007 playoff run. Wong started the craze with an astoningly simple, hand-stencilled sign that he held aloft for a regular season Warrior game, undaunted by the fact that the Dubs were a 28-35 team and not even a legitimate contender for the eighth playoff seed. He began hand-producing the signs by the thousands, handing them out to anyone at Oracle Arena who would take one.

As Wong handed out more and more signs, Golden State won more and more games. Next thing you know, team management was mass-producing signs inspired by Wong's, the Warriors were beating the odds to make the NBA playoffs, and the rest is Cinderalla playoff basketball history.

Interestingly, Wong tells Alameda Magazine that the whole crazy project was inspired by a marital counseling book that helped save he and his wife's marriage. If his wife was persuaded to stick around because he applied therapeutic relationship techniques to watching NBA games, then that Paul Wong is one lucky man.

But he is no longer the ultimate Warrior fan. In an interview with the San Jose Mercury-News, the long-time season ticket holder says he's not renewing and is finished as a Warriors superfan. "Existing season-ticket holders, it's almost like we're labeled sucker because we're an automatic renewal," Wong tells the Mercury-News.

Frustration among Warrior fans is running at an all-time high, or at least, a post-Carlesimo high. In addition to the team's unraveling on the court this season, fans are disgusted over the unpopular choice of Larry Riley as general manager and a "fake comments" scandal from the team's public relations department.

But when an obsessively devoted superfan like Paul Wong gives up on the team, it's not a good sign.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who remains a fan of the updated Golden State of Mind "We Believe" parody sign.

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