THE COVID-19 pandemic has altered people’s lifestyles in the past year. With the shifting pandemic guidelines, many have had to follow the most basic ones, which include wearing face masks, doing social distancing and avoiding crowds or not mingling with people other than those in their households.
In the world of sports, that has meant the cancellation of events or shortening of league seasons, in addition to quarantine measures. That also has meant empty arenas, devoid of fans screaming and shouting for their home teams.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has not been spared from that, with teams playing an additional eight games before the playoffs after the regular season was suspended (at that time, teams had played between 63 to 67 games) during the 2019-2020 season. The pre-playoff and playoff games leading to the NBA championship won by the Los Angeles Lakers was played in a so-called “bubble” in Florida to protect players and staff.
The 2020-2021 is no different, with 72 games scheduled (instead of the normal 82-game schedule), as well as changes in opponent play and the establishment of a play-in tournament for teams in the 7th to 10th position for each conference.
The Golden State Warriors, ever mindful of the fact that both fans and players relish their connection with each other especially during home games, unveiled what it deems as “a multidimensional plan for a connected and interactive fan, player, and partner experience at Warriors games this season.”
The resulting in-game element enhancements include “Dub Hub,” which presents “an interactive opportunity for fans to appear live on virtual LED boards surrounding the court and in the player tunnel, offering a new perspective on Warriors basketball games.”
Currently, the Golden State Warriors is the only team in the NBA to deploy a live, two-way interactive experience for fans in both the bowl arena and player tunnel.
Filipino American Warriors fans were able to experience this during the 12th annual Filipino Heritage Night Warriors game versus the Detroit Pistons last Saturday, January 30.
A wide variety of groups were invited to join that night’s Dub Hub experience, including those from The Sarap Shop (Filipino American eatery inside the Chase Center), Bayanihan Equity Center, Filipino Community Center, SOMA Pilipinas, Manilatown Heritage Foundation, Filipino American Arts Exposition, West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center and Filipino Advocates for Justice.
Additionally, the Warriors organization presented messages from State Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the first Filipino American elected to the California State Assembly, and Raymond Townsend, the first Filipino American to play in the NBA and who is considered a Warriors legend, aside from posting Filipino heritage-inspired recipes on Chase Center social media (including a Cable Car cocktail and ceviche dish sponsored by Tanduay).
Prior to the game, fans had the opportunity to listen to Warriors coach Steve Kerr as he answered a variety of questions from media and chimed in on the current season’s performance by the team, lineup changes, injured player Klay Thompson’s broadcast booth performance, former Warrior’s player Festus Ezili’s planned comeback, Draymond Green’s play and Michael Jordan’s on-court leadership.
A pre-recorded performance of the U.S. national anthem was before tip-off, sung by San Jose-based Fil-Am choir Bytes and Notes Chorale.
At half-time, a pre-recorded performance by Filipino rapper and Bay Area native, P-Lo, was shown to Dub Hub viewers.
To enhance the experience for Filipino Heritage Night, the Warriors organization customized a Warriors Filipino Star logo as one of the motion fan prompts for Dub Hub participants, along with prompts for defense, 3-point basket, plastic sticks and a bell ring.
Arena emcee Fil-Am Franco Finn acted as Dub Hub host during the broadcast, encouraging fans to make noise and use the prompts when Warriors players entered the player tunnel, when 3-point shots swished in for Warriors shooters, when the team was defending the basket, or when Pistons players were shooting free throws.
DJ Umami, another Fil-Am, was shown on the broadcast providing the music inside the arena. Dance numbers presented by the Warriors senior and junior dance teams also showcased Filipino Americans who are part of the Warriors entertainment family.
A game item was offered during Filipino Heritage Night – A Warriors Filipino Heritage Night t-shirt. The t-shirt design included a Warriors Filipino star logo and a “joy ball,” nodding to the Warriors theme of “Joy in Buckets.”
Dub Hub access
According to the Warriors organization, 120 fans will have the opportunity to partake in Dub Hub each game, with 32 fans being granted VIP access which allows them pre-game access to interact with the players as they run through the player tunnel.
Also, the organization is inviting select Season Ticket members and various community groups to each game.
Attendees are able to access views from four broadcast camera angles that can be interchanged at a touch of a button, or can all be viewed simultaneously as one grid.
Select Dub Hub viewers can also interact with fans in their own VIP rooms, or interact with other fans.
Warriors fans who wish to partake in Dub Hub can get more information at warriors.com, including the chance to enter to win access.
“I’m proud of how we’ve turned a difficult challenge into a unique opportunity during this unusual time,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts in a release given to media. “This innovative and reimagined entertainment strategy will enable us to stay connected with our fans and partners via, among other elements, virtual fan engagement opportunities, additional partner signage spaces and an enhanced audio plan. It’s exciting.”
The Warriors team, to the delight of their Filipino American fans, drubbed the Detroit Pistons, 118-91, putting their win-loss record at that point to 11-9.
Led by Stephen Curry’s 28 points, the Warriors executed on both ends of the floor and were engaged defensively throughout the contest, battling for loose balls, blocking shots, getting into passing lanes, and chasing after and challenging shots by Detroit’s shooters.
In all, ten of the 12 players fielded by coach Kerr scored, including starters Andrew Wiggins (20) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (18). Jordan Poole and James Wiseman led off-the-bench contributors with 16 and 11 points, respectively.
There was one moment of concern in the game as rookie Wiseman fell on his left wrist while making an alley-oop play in the first half. He was later diagnosed with a sprained left wrist which will see him out seven to 10 days.