<
>

Derek Carr, Raiders draw inspiration from title hunts by Warriors, Sharks

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Yes, the Golden State Warriors have designs on moving across the bay from the grittiness of Oakland to the bright lights of San Francisco.

And, of course, the Oakland Raiders have made their intentions known that if Las Vegas can come through, they will leave the East Bay’s realism for Sin City’s glitz and glamour.

But the Raiders and Warriors have a special kinship as co-tenants of the Oakland Coliseum complex, along with Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics. With the Warriors two wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers away from claiming a second consecutive NBA title and the Raiders on the rise, it feels a bit like the early-to-mid-1970s in Oakland … even if the A’s are currently more pretenders than contenders.

Consider: The A’s won three straight World Series from 1972 through 1974, while the Warriors won the NBA title in 1975, and the Raiders claimed a Super Bowl XI trophy after the 1976 NFL season.

Throw in the San Jose Sharks playing in their first Stanley Cup finals -- even if they are one loss away from elimination by the Pittsburgh Penguins after Monday night’s 3-1 defeat -- and it being an even year for the San Francisco Giants, who have won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014, you get the sense these are pretty heady times in the San Francisco Bay Area.

So, yeah, the Raiders want in on the fun as they enter their final week of OTAs.

“Well, first of all, you have to take your hat off to the Warriors,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said recently, ticking off the defending champs' resume with a regular-season record 73 victories and guard Stephen Curry’s two straight MVP awards.

“It’s awesome. We feel the excitement and we’re part of it because we’re proud of them. The Sharks are doing well. Heck, I was at a game [recently] and they’re playing really, really well right now. So to feel that excitement, to be a part of it, I think it’s awesome.”

In fact, the Raiders, who improved from three victories in 2014 to seven wins last year and last had a winning record in 2002, have the seventh-most talented roster in the NFL, per a joint ESPN.com/Pro Football Focus survey. The San Francisco 49ers, though, had the 32nd- and last-ranked roster in the NFL.

Alas …

“We certainly take pride in representing this area,” Del Rio said. “The fans that are here are awesome. So we want to do our part and play great football. We talked about when I got here last year in the opening press conference, talked about [a] return to greatness, and that was the goal.

“Obviously, what [the Warriors and Sharks are] doing right now is great and we want to be a part of that. I’m excited about it. I think it’s awesome.”

In fact, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr began his media conference last week with a soliloquy about Golden State.

“How about our Warriors, huh?” Carr began. “Man, Steph Curry, my goodness. I guess that’s why he is the MVP.”

Two times, nonetheless.

“So happy for Steph, Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green], those guys,” Carr continued. “That’s awesome because it means a lot to the city of Oakland and that means a lot to me. So, I wanted to start off with that because what they’re doing is special. It’s pretty cool.”

Carr said seeing the Warriors and Sharks in their respective championships should be the norm, rather than the exception.

“It’s something that you strive towards,” he said, “and just to see the city on fire for both teams is pretty sweet.”

It especially hits home for Del Rio in that he is from the East Bay town of Hayward, a mere 10 miles south of the Oakland Coliseum.

“Even when it wasn’t good -- the Warriors had some lean years, whatever -- different sports teams have lean years. If you’re a true fan, you’re still there.

“But there’s nothing like it when you get it going and we’re all enjoying it. That’s what’s happening right now with the Warriors and the Sharks, and we’d love to join that.”