How the Warriors' 2022 championship journey is a part of something new

There was no way NBA executives could’ve predicted the Chicago Bulls-focused docuseries “The Last Dance” would become so popular, but they approached Steve Kerr about following the 2019 Golden State Warriors as they went for a three-peat.

Kerr, perhaps sensing drama was on the horizon with Kevin Durant approaching free agency, declined to have cameras all around his team for an entire season.

But he wasn’t as reluctant on allowing some access for last season’s Warriors, who wound up reclaiming their spot atop the NBA throne. “Gold Blooded” followed the Warriors’ journey last season, dating back to training camp.

It debuted on the redesigned and constantly updated NBA app, which was unveiled this week.

“It was much less invasive,” Kerr told Yahoo Sports as the Warriors headed to Tokyo for two preseason games against the Washington Wizards. “It felt fine, the way it all worked out. It’s 2022, times are changing and the business sort of demands more access. Fans love it.”

Kerr had final say in when and where cameras were allowed, so he had a measure of control in the process. Andre Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, narrates the episodes — the first, focusing on how the Warriors were built and the doubts entering the season after the fall from their dynastic days.

There was no way Kerr could’ve known the season would’ve played so perfectly, so getting inside even a morsel of the team’s psyche would be gold to fans, even making note of how media friendly the Warriors have traditionally been well before their title days.

“It’s pretty amazing to look behind,” Kerr said. “Behind-the-scenes stuff, it was really special for fans because they watch all the games and they feel like they get to know the players and coaches, [but] until you really see the behind-the-scenes stuff, you don’t have a great idea of what’s happening.”

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr greets fans during the championship parade on June 20, 2022, in San Francisco. (Michael Urakami/Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr greets fans during the championship parade on June 20, 2022, in San Francisco. (Michael Urakami/Getty Images)

The league has followed suit with other franchises in training camp so far, with the Philadelphia 76ers allowing access and catching head coach Doc Rivers and James Harden in a moment recently — Rivers referencing Harden’s changing role compared to his days in Houston with the two discussing Harden’s read on his teammates.

“We gotta get you in what you want,” Rivers told Harden. “You can’t just say you’re a facilitator. You’re a scorer and facilitator. It’s gonna take time to figure that out … but when it clicks, James, we’re gonna be unbeatable.”

Those intimate moments seem to be the norm with the NBA’s look into camps, with “Real Training Camp” at the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, following head coach Jason Kidd and Luka Doncic.

It’s all part of the NBA’s refocus into the app, which will include options on betting, simulcasting of radio shows and original content such as these training camps. “CrunchTime,” which is similar to the NFL’s popular “RedZone,” will zoom in and out of games at critical junctures throughout the evening so fans can get a taste of everything all at once.

And more pointedly to a large segment of fans, the league is opening its vault of archived games, which to date has 500 classic contests. Every Finals game since 2000 is available right now and more will be released as the year goes on.

Before, YouTube was a home for a lot of NBA content fans often uploaded through the years. Now, it seems the league is finally taking an active role in promoting its history.

Kerr, with nine championship rings as a player and coach, is already a huge part of that history and will have to motivate his team in a different way this season.

“It’s a different approach. Last year, we didn’t know we could do it given all the changes our team had been through, injuries and stuff,” Kerr told Yahoo Sports. “But then we did it. And so now we have the confidence that we can do it again. The motivation is trying to get back-to-back [championships], which is something that is extremely rare. We did it once here, ’17 and ’18. But we got guys who are highly motivated. Love to win, hate to lose. And they’re excited for the season.”

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors raise the Larry O'Brien championship trophy after defeating the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals on June 16, 2022. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors raise the Larry O'Brien Trophy after defeating the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals on June 16, 2022. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)