The Golden State Warriors have been the best team in the NBA for half a decade now. They haven’t always won the title in that time, but three out of four championships and a league record for wins in the other season isn’t too bad. Oftentimes with Golden State it feels inevitable that they’re going to win, but it has been decidedly tough for them regardless of their talent.
After winning the title last year, David West hinted at some previously unreported on drama that the team went through, noting that no one knew what they had to deal with to get to a second straight championship. Finally we got answers to that cryptic remark as Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Monday, with quotes from David West, Zaza Pachulia, and others, about a health scare that rocked the Warriors locker room and just how tough it made things for the Warriors en route to a second straight NBA title.
Many in the organization had tried to stay quiet about the details of the matter, but The Athletic reports that an employee of a vendor the team’s food contracted a contagious form of meningitis and then had a “life-threatening” fight to get healthy and return to work.
Amick’s reporting says that West’s comments about adversity on the way to a second title were not about potential infighting between players, but that threat of a meningitis outbreak in the facility. West noted that this latest bit of drama between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green is small potatoes compared to that.
“If we were able to get through that,” West said of the health scare, “then (they’ll) be able to get through this.”
According to Amick, the Warriors had to effectively sanitize their entire practice facility, have doctors come in to speak to the team, and some players event went to get vaccines during the scare. The Athletic talked to several players that were with the Warriors and their G League affiliate last year who spoke about the difficulties the team faced. This quote from JaVale McGee in particular is pretty funny but also not medically accurate.
“I grew up in the hood,” JaVale McGee, the former Warriors center who is now with the Lakers, told The Athletic. “Meningitis isn’t something I’m scared of.”
West, however, said the scare put in context a bad run for the Warriors at the end of the season where many thought a post-championship malaise had been too much for the Warriors to overcome.
“It was just a serious health scare where, for me, it’s just something like, ‘Wow,’” West said. “That was in my mind at the time (of his post-Finals quotes).
“It was the entire team (who was affected). It was crazy. It was the heart of the season. It was something that, again, it showed the strength of the organization (that they got through it to win the title).”
What matters is that everyone’s OK, and that things didn’t get any worse in Golden State. Worrying about interpersonal issues is a lot easier than medical ones.