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June 14, 2017

It had nothing to do with having really good basketball players.

As yellow and blue confetti streamed down from the Oracle Arena roof on Monday night, the books closed on another championship season for the Golden State Warriors. It was their second title in three years, with no end to their dominance in sight.

How the franchise got to this point was not by chance. It wasn’t basketball as usual, but rather, it was Silicon Valley.

Before 2010, the Warriors had been a symbol of mediocrity for a long time. The team made the playoffs just once in the previous 16 seasons.

Enter Joe Lacob, Silicon Valley venture capitalist, who along with other Silicon Valley investors, bought the local team, and using Silicon Valley strategies, turned it around fast—like their very own Silicon Valley start-up!

First, there was the Silicon Valley strategy of acquiring the face of the Warriors, Stephen Curry, who will go down as the greatest 3-point shooter and one of the best point guards of all time.

Well, the Warriors did draft Curry a year before Lacob bought the team, and Curry did show plenty of glimpses of future greatness during his strong rookie season, but traditional basketball minds might have traded him. Not Lacob. And not Silicon Valley. They kept him, and now he’s a two-time MVP.

…[Signing Kevin Durant was] another trademark Silicon Valley venture capital gamble… And it paid off…

The Silicon Valley strategies didn’t stop there. The team drafted franchise cornerstones Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in years to follow, who both would have been replaceable on a normal basketball team, but on a Silicon Valley-run basketball team, became another all-time great shooter and all-time great versatile player, respectively.

That Silicon Valley trio of Curry, Thompson, and Green provided the foundation of the 2015 championship team. However, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers thwarted the Warriors’ attempt for back-to-back titles the following year, so what did Lacob and Golden State do to respond?

They signed Kevin Durant. Not everyone was convinced signing another former MVP and the second best basketball player in the world was a good decision, but the Warriors took their chances with another trademark Silicon Valley venture capital gamble.

And having four All Stars, two MVPs, and at least three future Hall of Famers in the starting lineup paid off, with another Silicon Valley-fueled NBA title.

Clearly, Silicon Valley turned the Warriors into the juggernaut they’ve become, and isn’t just a phrase I like saying and concept I’m stretching for in order to get clicks. Other teams better try to catch up, or else more trophies will be coming right back to Silicon Valley for years to come!