Carlos Santana and his drummer wife Cindy Blackman Santana performed the national anthem. Marc Benioff sat courtside next to will.i.am; Floyd Mayweather had a courtside seat too. Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel Newsom were just a row back. And that’s how it was on June 7 as the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers squared off in a nail-biter Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the hautest ticket in the Bay Area these days. The disappointing overtime loss assures a Game 5 on Sunday, June 14—and that there will be plenty of famous faces in the stands.
We also spotted David and Mary Beth Shimmon, Roger and Sloan Barnett and Carl and Yurie Pascarella [all three couples are season ticket holders], Carolyn Tyler, Larry Baer, former NBA stars Baron Davis and Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) and season ticket holder Doug Goldman with one of his twin sons.
Newsom, California’s lieutenant governor who has already announced his plans to replace Gov. Jerry Brown in Sacramento, said he doesn’t have a chance to attend as many games as he would like.
“It’s tough so it’s great to finally get a chance,” Newsom said. “When I’m [at Oracle Arena], I’m never with Jen so the two of us actually get a chance [to attend a game together]. We’ve got to coordinate babysitting so it’s a little more challenging. I’m thrilled to be here— and I’m not complaining about the seats. It’s nice to have close friends.”
During halftime, Newsom exchanged pleasantries with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and encouraged the commish to wear a gold t-shirt such as the ones the Warriors place on every seat before a home game.
The Shimmons, who brought their two kids, David and Allie, with them on Sunday, have had four season tickets for 11 years so you can imagine how excited they are right now.
“We’ve loved the Warriors,” Mary Beth gushed, “even when they were doing well.”
Considering the steep price NBA Finals tickets are going for these days, she knows they could sell their seats for one game and practically pay for next year’s block. The thought has crossed their minds.
“We even considered selling them because we can sell them for a lot,” Mary Beth said, then added, “But we thought, we didn’t have the tickets all of these years to sell them.”
Her husband certainly didn’t. David is a San Francisco native. His tickets were originally elsewhere but he bugged the Warriors enough to where he was finally allowed to purchase seats behind owner Joe Lacob. He created a section with his buddies so every game is a party.
“We’ve had fun,” David enthused. “This is way over the top. The Finals is a whole different level of NBA basketball. It’s exciting because you see these players at their best. During the course of the year, you know it’s a long season. Certain games they have to pace themselves; but at this level—they’re the best athletes in the world. [Stephen] Curry is still figuring it out. LeBron [James] comes on the court like, I know how to read every situation.’ ”
Speaking of reading the situation, we called upon our favorite celebrity wardrobe stylist, Mary Gonsalves Kinney, to ask her what the fashion-conscious woman should wear to the game. She encourages her clients to wear their team colors. She stresses that “ultimate fandom doesn’t have to mean ill-fitting jerseys or oversized NBA embossed t shirts. It can be the hard to find bright yellow and “midnight” blue individual pieces that are sporty and still chic.
“Try a cozy cable knit sweater in a pale yellow or a cobalt blue with your favorite Frame skinny jeans. I know you can’t really rock pumps to an NBA game, so add some wedge to your sneaker ala Isabel Marant or Stella McCartney.
“Be brave and make the ultimate statement of NBA fashion fandom in a Markus Lupfer midnight blue and yellow sweater with a pair of golden lips smack dab on the front. Why not kiss the Warriors to victory? Who says a sports fanatic can’t dress the part chicly? Not me.”
Tyler of ABC shows her team spirit. Below, this step and repeat, located off the court at Oracle Arena, has become a popular place for fans to pose for photos.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Mary Beth Shimmon
Other photos by Kelly E. Carter