Resiliancy has become a defining trait for Golden State Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob. This was apparent in Lacob’s talk Tuesday afternoon in the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Center as he shared stories about his successes as a National Basketball Association owner and the challenges he faced along the way and how he overcame them.
Before a crowd of 100 Paly students and staff, Lacob discussed his past failures, which included getting placed on the wait list for Stanford University, not getting accepted into University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine and losing out on the potential success of the American Basketball League due to the Women’s National Basketball Association gaining a national television contract and pushing out the former. According to Lacob, despite these setbacks, he has no regrets and is only looking forward.
Since acquiring ownership of the Golden State Warriors NBA team on July 15, 2010, a dream of Lacob’s since he was 10 years old, he said he has boosted the overall quality of the team, finishing with an impressive 67-15 record during this year’s regular season, despite initially firing almost all of the management staff that were in employment at the time he acquired the team. His tenure has included the firing and hiring of four different coaches within a five-year span, most controversially last summer by replacing Mark Jackson with current head coach Steve Kerr.
Ex-coach Jackson helped the Warriors go from 23 wins during his first season to 51 wins by his third, contributing to the successful redesign of the Warriors franchise according to Lacob during his talk. However, Lacob saw this vast improvement as not good enough, and he wanted nothing but the best.
Although there is controversy about Lacob’s decision to fire Jackson, who led the Warriors to the Western Conference semi-finals in 2013 and the 50-win plateau the following year, Lacob boldly believed at the time that the Warriors could do even better, a point he emphasized in particular during his talk with students.
“We want great people in every position down the board,” Lacob said. “We want only the best guys for this team.” Lacob added on that even though Kerr was a rookie head coach, he has always believed that this industry was meant for the youth.
Since his hiring, Kerr has managed 67 wins as a rookie coach and only two losses at home with the Warriors, making them one of the favorites to win the NBA championship this year, according to Las Vegas odds.
Lacob also spoke about the importance of setting high and audacious goals, shown through his cunning purchase of the Warriors, trading star player Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012 in exchange for the then-injured center Andrew Bogut and with the firing of a successful coaching staff in 2014. Although these are examples of making risky choices, they have panned out to be successful, according to Lacob.
In response to the criticism he received, Lacob advised students to follow their instincts.
“Everybody has an opinion,” Lacob said. “Do what your gut tells you to do.”
Emphasizing the key concept of relentlessness, Lacob stressed that it is a crucial value that has contributed to his overall success.
“I relentlessly pursued excellence and was successful in the end.”