Anthony Silva said his schoolmates at Castro Valley High School were impressed when they heard what he did to make some extra cash after school.
Ice cream shop? Pizza delivery? Babysitting? Nope.
He works for the Golden State Warriors.
Officially, Silva’s title with the Dubs is team attendant, which is the team’s new term for a ball boy or girl. During his senior year in high school, the now 18-year-old would get out of class and drive 15-20 minutes north to Oracle Arena in Oakland to rebound for the likes of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
He, like many of his classmates, grew up as a fan of the team, which he said added to his initial excitement – parking in the VIP lot at Oracle, working in the locker room, speaking with star athletes on a regular basis.
“Everyone around here is a Warriors fan,” he told SFGate over the phone while in Castro Valley, where he was raised.
“So when they find out that you work for the team, especially directly for the team like I am … it’s pretty exciting,” Silva said. “I definitely got a lot of clout from that.”
Silva, who currently attends Las Positas College in Livermore, just finished his second season working for one of the most successful franchises in American sports. He’s in the offseason for both school and basketball right now, but balances being in the classroom with being courtside during the school year.
Silva’s duties as a team attendant are myriad: he rebounds for players during the pregame warm up, wipes off bodily fluids that spill on the court during the game, and ensures that players have the right sweats and t-shirts or hoodies when they come off the court.
“You want to be quick and efficient,” Silva said. Quick and efficient – he used the phrase several times while talking about his job, like a mantra he always keeps in mind. “You don’t want any coaches looking at you a certain way, so you want to make sure you’re getting everything done quick for the players,” he said.
One of Silva’s key roles is wiping up the floor after a player takes a spill on the court. He keeps a towel in hand at all times, “watching for falls.” If someone does slip, Silva must run onto the court and wipe off the floor — again, quick and efficient — keeping his eye on the play in case the teams head back in his direction.
“It sounds so basic, just wiping up sweat,” Silva said. “But it could be really crucial because a player could slip, a player could get injured and it would come back on us.”
There was a bit of a learning curve for Silva when it came to remembering “which players wear what” when they came off the court – some players only want to wear a shirt when they sit, others only want sweats, and some don’t want anything at all. Steph Curry, for example, always has to have a towel when he checks out of games.
“It probably took me about 10 to 20 games, because it just depends on if they do change or not, but you end up finding out which player wears what because they all wear something different,” he said. “If a player is traded and you get a new player, it’s just this ongoing process of memorization.”
He talks about the job like a grizzled vet instead of someone who’s only been with the team for a little over a year. He gave the example of Curry putting in a request. “Before you get the job, [Steph is] your favorite player in the world,” he said. “But after you’ve got the job, if he needs something, you need to be professional about it and get it to him as quick as possible.”
Silva works with the players before the game and during the game, and even traveled with the team to Game 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, but team attendants — back when they were called ball boys or girls — used to interact with the players much more.
Just ask director of team operations Eric Housen, Silva’s boss, who started with the team as a ball boy in 1986 and has been with the team since. Back in his day, Housen would help Warriors legend Chris Mullin keep his skills sharp in the summer during the Warriors’ Run TMC era. “I played so much pickup ball with the Mullin brothers growing up,” he remembered. “Two-on-two, me and ‘Mully’ versus B.J. Armstrong and one of my buddies.”
But over the decades since Housen’s time as a ball boy, the game has become much more professionalized with an expansion of coaching and player development staff, who play with the players on a day-to-day basis. Bruce Fraser, who is the Warriors’ assistant coach for player development and played college basketball with Steve Kerr at the University of Arizona, is a great example of this. He practices shooting with Curry and other players on the team.
“You don’t want a guy like me out there now,” Housen, who never played basketball on the collegiate or professional level, said with an air of self-deprecation in his voice. “I’m terrible.”
Even though team attendants don’t have the same level of access to players as they did back in Housen’s day, Silva said he thinks his job is “a dream.” Like most 18-year-olds, he’s still figuring out what he wants to do with his life, but sees a potential future in staying with the Warriors.
“I mean, Eric started as a ball boy and look at him now, he’s one of the top equipment managers in the league,” Silva said. “And there’s also so much opportunity, especially being young. If it’s something that I really want to do, there could be a real career in it.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/golden-state-warriors-ball-boy-Steph-Curry-Silva-13991436.php.