Warriors ‘priced our real fans out,’ Andre Iguodala says

It’s no secret that many diehard Warriors fans feel alienated by the high ticket prices that came with success in Golden State. And they’re not the only ones who feel the culture of the Oracle Arena (and soon, Chase Center) changed over the past few years.

Warriors star Andre Iguodala, who is currently on a media blitz for his first book, appeared on the radio show “The Breakfast Club” on Tuesday. One of the topics that came up was the difference between ticket holders and athletes on the court.

“The places we [NBA players] come from are a lot different than our arena fanbase,” Iguodala said. “You can go look at the Golden State Warriors. When I first got there, we were kind of up and coming. And I always say we priced our real fans out. Now, you look at it, who’s our fanbase? Silicon Valley, the richest community in the world.”

“Sometimes there is a little bit of a disconnect between the in-arena fanbase and the players, because we’ve out-priced a lot of the genuine basketball community,” he added.

On that note, the hosts asked Iguodala about the NBA Finals altercation between Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Silicon Valley investor Mark Stevens, a minority owner of the team. During Game 3 at Oracle, Lowry fell into the crowd while chasing a loose ball. While getting up, he was shoved by Stevens, who has since been banned and fined by the league.

“The dude is worth $2.4 billion,” Iguodala said. “I’m pretty sure that if Kyle was a different color, he wouldn’t have. You can kind of tell he wasn’t in his right state, but at the same time, that’s him reacting naturally. That was kind of crazy.”

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Iguodala — clearly — didn’t shy away from controversial topics during his wide-ranging, hour-long interview. When asked by co-host Charlamagne tha God if he believed former Warriors coach Mark Jackson was “blackballed” out of the league, Iguodala agreed.

“One particular issue, from what I heard, was his views on gender or marriage or what the Bible said on your sexuality,” he said.

“The head of our business [Rick Welts] … he’s celebrated as one of the top execs in sports, on the business side, and he’s gay,” he continued, “so there was conflicts with that that was widespread. Everyone was talking about that.”

Jackson, famously, was a licensed minister for the True Love Worship Center International in Southern California, and his views haven’t gone unscrutinized before. Rumors circulated that he demanded Warriors players go to church (Iguodala denied this Tuesday, saying the team was generally Christian and attended church anyway) and that he would not have been welcoming of gay players on his team, a charge Jackson denied.

On a lighter note, Iguodala also lamented players’ obsession with social media and constantly needing to see what people are saying about them online — even during games.

“It’s normal now to go in the locker room and the first thing people do is grab their phones,” he said. “At halftime. It’s normal now.”

You can watch the full, hour-long interview in the video above.

Katie Dowd is an SFGate senior manager. Email: katie.dowd@sfgate.com

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/iguodala-breakfast-club-interview-mark-jackson-14046010.php.

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