Warriors gear up for Jewish heritage game

It may be difficult to spell the word “Warriors” with Hebrew letters, but that won’t stop the Bay Area’s NBA team from printing its best shot at the phonetic challenge on T-shirts.

The Golden State Warriors’ annual Jewish Heritage Night will take place April 9 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, and fans who buy designated tickets will walk away with one of the Hebrew-lettered shirts (vowels not included).

The Warriors will go up against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 7:30 p.m. game, which will be Golden State’s fifth-to-last of the season. After a strong first half of the season, the Warriors are poised to make the playoffs but are trying to finish high enough in the standings to avoid a first-round series against one of their conference’s top two seeds.

A heritage night tailgate party will take place in the arena parking lot at 5 p.m. The outdoor festivities will include DJs, stilt walkers and a barbecue with kosher hot dogs.

Warriors sales representative Nick Smith said that approximately 500 people attended last year’s Jewish heritage game, a 106-97 Warriors’ victory over the Houston Rockets. The Warriors are 4-3 overall in Jewish heritage games.

Howard Sapper, a longtime entertainment executive who is working with the Warriors to coordinate the festivities, said that he’s hoping for 1,000 attendees this year and that he plans to “ramp up” heritage nights significantly in the coming years. He emphasized that he is reaching out across denominations to the entire Jewish community.

The band Klezmania will perform during pauses in the game and children affiliated with Friendship Circle, a Jewish nonprofit that works with children and families of children with special needs, will welcome players as they come out onto the floor.

Officials said some Jewish-style food will be sold at a stand or two during the game, which originally was scheduled for April 7, until team officials discovered that was Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). Tickets will go for $23-$100 and discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. 

For more information, visit www.warriors.com/jewishheritage.

— george altshuler