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Sea of fans salute NBA champion Warriors at rally, parade in San Francisco

Team Coverage: Warriors celebrate 4th championship in 8 years
Team Coverage: Warriors celebrate 4th championship in 8 years 09:39

SAN FRANCISCO -- A crowd numbering in the hundreds of thousands converged on downtown San Francisco Monday to hail the NBA champion Golden State Warriors as the team held its victory parade along Market Street, the fourth such parade in the team's eight-year dynasty.

Before the parade started, the team was introduced at a rally near the start of the parade route at the foot of Market Street during a program that included player introductions and remarks to the crowd.

Finals MVP Steph Curry had a message for Dub Nation.

"With us, with four, we represent you guys; like, the life you give us, the inspiration," said Curry.

"To know what we've all been through, what [Thompson] went through for almost three years, what we went through as a team to try to retool, regroup and rejuvenate ... just taking snapshots of the last three years, all that came out when the final horn sounded," he added.

With the Larry O'Brien trophy in hand, Draymond Green asked the crowd, "What you want me to tell you, that we are the best team in basketball?"

Green said it's difficult for any championship to feel better than the first, but seeing his teammates win their first in 2022 brings him the most joy.

"You feel it through those guys, that's how you get that sensation again," Green said. "Thank you all. And it's always f–k everybody else, I love y'all."

Klay Thompson later chimed in, "Draymond has the maturity of a 3rd grader."

Draymond Green makes colorful comments at Warriors pre-parade rally 02:19

The parade began about 20 minutes after the scheduled 11:20 a.m. start time at the intersection of Market and Main Streets as fans rejoiced from the sidewalk. many who made sure they were there early to find the best spot. 

A lucky few were rewarded for their efforts as some of the players -- including Thompson, Green, and Gary Payton II -- got off their buses to interact with the fans at the barricades.  

The Warriors clinched their fourth title in eight years and first since 2018 on Thursday, defeating the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 of the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

It was the first sports championship parade held in San Francisco since 2014, the last time the Giants won the World Series. Previous Warriors' victory parades in 2015, 2017 and 2018 were held in downtown Oakland. In 1975, the Warriors held celebrations at the Oakland Arena and San Francisco's Union Square after team won its first NBA title since moving to San Francisco in 1962.

The last victory parade in the city came in 2014, when the San Francisco Giants captured their third World Series crown in five years by defeating the Kansas City Royals in seven games. The first team victory parade in the city happened in 1982 after the San Francisco 49ers won the team's first of five Super Bowls.

Traffic into downtown San Francisco was at a crawl over the Bay Bridge while BART experienced its highest ridership day since the start of the pandemic; trains were running at full capacity and packed to the gills.

"I've been on BART, but I've not been in an experience like this. I can hardly fit. I'm telling you it was so tight and so squished," said Pam Brown of San Francisco.

The day wasn't without glitches -- which included massive lines for Clipper cards at the Dublin BART station. 

"The Clipper app dealt with unprecedented demand today because so many people were going to the parade - so it created a bandwidth issue," said BART spokesperson Chris Filippi. "People did have success with it, but it took many tries in some circumstances to have that success. We were able to accommodate everybody and get them through the gates one way or another."

"They gave actually us a free one. We walked up and they gave us a 20-dollar one, so we got to ride it for free today," said Elena Viadurri visiting San Francisco from Hanford. 

Adding to the strain on the system was a delay on the red line from Richmond to San Francisco, which was plagued by power problems Monday morning for the second time in three days. 

Muni began rerouting bus lines around the parade Sunday afternoon. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said a total of 31 routes that either cross or are near Market Street will be affected. Most reroutes were expected to remain in place until 6 p.m. Monday.

Temperatures in downtown San Francisco were in the low-70s Monday, and San Francisco police said officers handled dozens of first-aid calls along the parade route, most of them being heat-related.

The parade became somewhat chaotic at the end as fans broke the barricades to get on the parade route. Thousands of people stormed onto Market Street and surrounded player buses, especially the last bus in the parade where Thompson and teammate Otto Porter Jr. were riding, giving the players and their families a memorable selfie background.

Andria Borba and Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.

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