The Warriors return to San Quentin to play against the prison team

By | September 21, 2022

SAN QUENTIN – There’s a sure anxiousness if you enter San Quentin State Jail, whilst a customer, unaware of what awaits you contained in the partitions of one of the crucial infamous locations on this planet. world.

It helps to be there with a gaggle, on this case, the Golden State Warriors. Members of the staff’s hospitality and training workers have traveled to San Quentin yearly for many of the previous 10 years to play basketball in opposition to a jail staff.

It is a pleasant recreation, however aggressive. And it is nonetheless San Quentin, California’s oldest jail and residential to the state’s solely gasoline chamber.

SAN QUENTIN, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 16: Center blue jersey Rick Hale of the San Quentin Warriors and Golden State Warriors player development coach Hilton Armstrong battle for the ball during the end of their basketball game- ball as part of the Warriors' annual visit to San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif., on Friday, September 16, 2022. Warriors players James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and other players did not played but signed autographs and met the incarcerated population during their visit.  (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
SAN QUENTIN, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 16: Rick Hale of the San Quentin Warriors, heart blue jersey, and Golden State Warriors participant improvement coach Hilton Armstrong battle for the ball in the course of the finish of their basketball recreation within the body of the Warriors’ annual go to to San Quentin State Jail in San Quentin, Calif., Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. Warriors gamers James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and others didn’t play however signed autographs and met the incarcerated inhabitants throughout their go to. (Ray Chavez/Bay Space Information Group)

Final Friday morning, within the visitor parking zone, generic inexperienced jerseys had been distributed to gamers from the Warriors staff. Inexperienced is considered one of three colours allowed indoors. The others are in black and white. This distinguishes guests from the jail inhabitants, who put on state-issued blue and grey clothes.

On the entrance to the jail, your cell phone is confiscated and locked up at some point of the go to. You present your ID card to a jail official and log in. You might be taken to a room referred to as the “exit port”, a form of holding cell, the place your ID is checked as soon as extra earlier than unlocking a steel door.

When this door closes behind you, the isolation skilled by a largely forgotten inhabitants units in deeply.

However the warriors are in the home.

SAN QUENTIN, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Golden State Warriors Jonathan Kuminga, left, signs autographs for incarcerated men during a visit to San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California on Friday, September 16, 2022. Golden State coaching and receiving staff and the Santa Cruz Warriors played a basketball game against the San Quentin Warriors as part of their annual visit.  (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
SAN QUENTIN, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 16: Golden State Warriors Jonathan Kuminga, left, indicators autographs for incarcerated males throughout a go to to San Quentin State Jail in San Quentin, Calif., Friday, September 16, 2022. Golden State teaching and receiving workers and the Santa Cruz Warriors performed a basketball recreation in opposition to the San Quentin Warriors as a part of their annual go to. (Ray Chavez/Bay Space Information Group)

“It is the factor I sit up for yearly,” mentioned Rahsaan Thomas, who spent 22 years in San Quentin on a second-degree homicide conviction. “That is one thing to sit up for on this dreary, darkish place if you’re away from dwelling and your loved ones does not get guests. These guys are my go to.

Informal Warriors followers would not acknowledge this roster. Steph Curry just isn’t right here. Neither Klay Thompson nor Draymond Inexperienced. Among the many gamers, there are solely a handful – James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody particularly – and none of them will play on this match.

The Warriors misplaced the newest assembly — three years in the past, earlier than the pandemic — on a last-second shot. The checklist is even slimmer for the rematch. Normal supervisor Bob Myers, who performed collegiate at UCLA and would have scored 40 factors in a kind of video games, was sidelined this time with a nagging hip damage. Assistant coach Chris DeMarco, who’s 6-foot-7, was taken down late within the recreation.

Of their absence, no less than 4 gamers had been making their San Quentin debut: Warriors participant improvement coach Hilton Armstrong, who’s 6-11 and was a first-round decide within the NBA Draft in 2006; Santa Cruz Warriors assistant coach Noel Hightower, who’s 6-5 and performed collegiately at a Division II faculty; and, for the primary time, two ladies – Warriors participant rehabilitation supervisor Danielle Langford and knowledge analyst Hannah Heiring.

SAN QUENTIN, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 16: Golden State Warriors data analyst Hannah Heiring, green jersey, throws a shot against the San Quentin Warriors during a basketball game as part of the Warriors' annual visit to San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California.  , Friday, September 16, 2022. Warriors players James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and others did not play but signed autographs and met with the incarcerated population during their visit.  (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
SAN QUENTIN, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 16: Golden State Warriors knowledge analyst Hannah Heiring, inexperienced jersey, throws a shot in opposition to the San Quentin Warriors throughout a basketball recreation as a part of the Warriors’ annual go to to the jail of San Quentin State in San Quentin, CA. , Friday, September 16, 2022. Warriors gamers James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and others didn’t play however signed autographs and met with the incarcerated inhabitants throughout their go to. (Ray Chavez/Bay Space Information Group)

Within the jail yard, on the foot of a hill, a big crowd of prisoners awaits the reigning NBA champions. They provide a heat welcome, exchanging daps with their guests like previous associates reuniting after a breakup.

“Simply understanding the power once we got here in, you had no concept what to anticipate,” Warriors assistant coach Jama Mahlalela mentioned. “And we walked down the hill and it was simply an outpouring of affection and hugs and smiles. And it makes us really feel welcome, it is shifting. It is fascinating to see a lot power in a spot the place you did not suppose there could be a lot power.

“I used to be in a position to speak to a couple of the blokes once we arrived and it is regular dialog,” Mahlalela added. “And I feel that is what it is actually about. We’re all studying about humanity collectively and we’re elsewhere on this journey, however it’s been good attending to know some folks. And notice – I at all times say this – that we’re extra alike than totally different.

The concrete basketball court docket, its inexperienced paint pale by the relentless solar, is surrounded by spectators cheering dunks and massive blocks. Over the following two hours, women and men from all kinds of backgrounds and life experiences shared the sphere and performed the sport they love. It obtained bodily, at occasions, with gamers from each groups diving to the sidewalk for unfastened balls.

SAN QUENTIN, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Coaching and receiving staff from the Golden State and Santa Cruz Warriors, green jerseys and the San Quentin Warriors basketball team pose for a group photo before the start of their game as part of the Warriors' annual visit to San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif., on Friday, September 16, 2022. Warriors players James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and other players did not not played but signed autographs and met the incarcerated population during their visit.  (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
SAN QUENTIN, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 16: Teaching and receiving workers from the Golden State and Santa Cruz Warriors, inexperienced jerseys and the San Quentin Warriors basketball staff pose for a gaggle picture earlier than the beginning of their recreation as a part of the Warriors’ annual go to to San Quentin State Jail in San Quentin, Calif., on Friday, September 16, 2022. Warriors gamers James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and different gamers didn’t not performed however signed autographs and met the incarcerated inhabitants throughout their go to. (Ray Chavez/Bay Space Information Group)

“Form of the identical at dwelling…enjoying avenue ball,” mentioned Armstrong, who grew up in Peekskill, New York, about 50 miles from New York Metropolis. “Fairly enjoyable. It simply took me again to my youth.

At a steel desk away from the motion, Moody was engaged in a recreation of chess with an inmate. The Warriors sophomore had by no means been to San Quentin earlier than, however the expertise was nothing new to him.