Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


The Golden State Warriors represent so much that's delightful, surprising and very slightly unbelievable.

They win, despite being seeming to be rather pleasant people.

They win, despite leaning rather heavily on such naive arts as skill and grace.

They win, despite having a point guard who wouldn't look out of place in church. Hell, he even goes there.

Why, then, would the team's majority owner Joe Lacob want to undo this glorious freshness, this remarkably mature, human and sophisticated form of coaching and playing?

Yet here he is offering his version of feeling humbled by the team's success to the New York Times Magazine.

Speaking of the NBA's other teams, he said: "We've crushed them on the basketball court, and we're going to for years because of the way we've built this team."

That doesn't sound quite the tone of urbane, witty head coach Steve Kerr, does it? And the Warriors are only an injury or two (as are all the best teams) from not going far in this year's playoffs.

Even when their home win record ended with a loss to the Boston Celtics, Warriors players and coaches didn't say: "We're still the greatest." Instead, they said it was probably about time they lost one, as they'd won several this season that they didn't deserve to.

But wait. There was more from the owner.

"We're light-years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we're going to go about things," he mused.

Ah. I know that Buzz Lightyear says he'll go to infinity and beyond, but this is getting into oddly, pointlessly boastful areas.

Even if you really believe this, what benefit do you gain from uttering it to America's medium of judgment?

Doesn't "I'm so bloody great, you've no idea just how bloody great I am," smack a little of, gasp, Donald Trump?

Lacob, though, didn't stop there.

"We're going to be a handful for the rest of the N.B.A. to deal with for a long time," he said.

Please, Mr. Lacob, lie down on my prized chaise-longue, grab a handful of my fine Polish candy (Krówki, if you happen to know them) and tell me why you said these things.

Was it because you don't feel as if you had enough recognition for buying a decrepit team and directing it to glory?

Might it be because the first time you presented yourself in front of the Warriors fans, you were greeted like the long-lost son of Beelzebub's favorite anaconda?

You'd traded away a player the fans loved, Monta Ellis, for a player that rarely seemed to stand upright, Andrew Bogut.

Yes, that Andrew Bogut. The one so essential to the championship team. Another urbane, witty man who exemplifies the Warriors' astounding class.

Joe Lacob, was this a case of Ego Lacob?

I wonder, because of something else you said in the article. You spent much of your career as a very successful venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.

"In venture capital, I started 70 companies," you toId the Times. "I also watched my partners' deals, maybe 200 of them. That's a lot of companies. I thought about the way we design a board of directors, the way we design the financing. There's an architecture to it. And I started thinking about the architecture I would use when I owned and built my own team someday."

Joe, you know the founders of those companies -- did they start them too? Might they have even started them first? Or was this all you?

The Warriors' rise has been astonishing.

I know. It's my team and has been for many years. I regularly give them -- I mean, give Joe Lacob -- money. I gave him $400 only last week for two seats in my favorite section 109. I paid $40 to park. I paid another $40 for a burger, fries and a beer.

I will keep giving Joe Lacob money -- as long as he lets me, that is.

So I'm flummoxed as to why such an exemplary leader so desperately needed to declare how thoroughly, unspeakably, painfully exemplary he is.

Isn't it enough when everyone else says so? Isn't it actually better when everyone else says so?

Leadership can sometimes be very lonely. It's true that a great leader might not ever get as much praise as they think they deserve. And it's certainly true that Lacob made many decisions that others thought bonkers and turned out to be deeply astute. In this he was helped by some extremely good hires.

But in offering these bulbous boasts, what does he gain? 

He makes his fellow owners think he's something of a Silicon Valley blowhard.

He makes fans of the team think: "Oh, why did you have to say that? It's just motivation for our opponents. Well, except the Lakers. They're useless." He likely makes his own players think: "Joe, have a piña colada and belt up."

Lacob has everything. He's created a winner. Yet he seems even more needy than greedy.

He seems a couple of light-years behind some of the great sports executives who let their teams take the credit while they themselves enjoyed what they'd helped to create.

Another local team has won three championships in the last five years. It's called the San Francisco Giants.

You wouldn't hear the owners mouth off like that.

In fact, do you even know who owns the Giants?