The Golden State Warriors will advance to the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive postseason, making them the first team since the 1960s Boston Celtics to do so.
Although Golden State swept my very own Portland Trail Blazers out of the Western Conference finals last night, the series wasn’t entirely painful for me to watch. As a public relations professional I’m able to admire the Warriors, not for their strategy on the court, but for the media relations strategy that takes place off of it.
Because the media plays such an important role in the continued success and growth of the league, the NBA requires players to be available for media interviews for a specified amount of time during practices and before/after each game. With such an emphasis on media interviews, the NBA conducts a week-long mandatory symposium for drafted players focusing on media training and other aspects to set young players up for success.
In honor of the Warriors fifth consecutive championship appearance, let’s take a look at five media spokesperson personas of the Golden State Warriors and which type of media interview complements each.
Kevin Durant: Bold
Kevin Durant walks the line between confident and arrogant, with nothing to prove he’s the perfect candidate to set the tone in a pre-game media interview.
A back-to-back Finals MVP, Durant is known for analyzing game film to determine what he and his team can do to improve in the next game. By providing media with a scouting report on the night’s opponent, Durant provides valuable insight into the Warriors game strategy.
Due to NBA media guidelines, Durant is still required to speak with media at least once, despite being sidelined with an injury to his right calf.
Steve Kerr: Authoritative
Steve Kerr is an eight-time NBA champion, having won five titles as a player in addition to his three titles with the Warriors as their head coach. Kerr’s perspective is fitting for a half-time interview as he understands the game from both points of view. By discussing second-half strategy with media prior to heading into the locker room, he gives viewers insight into the half-time locker room discussion. Kerr maintains an authoritative temperament while interviewing and emphasizes his message by maintaining good body language and eye contact.
Stephen Curry: Compelling
Stephen Curry is the media spokesperson every team wishes they had. A six-time NBA All-Star, two-time MVP and three-time champion, Curry is credited with revolutionizing the game of basketball, inspiring teams to extend the range of their three-point shots. His 10-year career with the Warriors gives him a detailed understanding of the organization, enabling him to tell the story of how they evolved from a team that went 26-56 in 2009 (Curry’s rookie season) to a dynasty unlike any other. In media interviews, Curry is perpetually professional and evokes positivity no matter the circumstance, making him the ideal spokesperson for a post-game interview. He easily articulates his thoughts and effectively communicates proper brand and team messages.
Klay Thompson: Genuine
“The hardest part of my day is getting Klay Thompson to talk to media,” says Warriors Vice President of Communication, Raymond Ridder. It’s well-known throughout sports media that Thompson abhors media interviews, so why is every reporter intent on getting him in front of the microphone? The answer might surprise you. Thompson’s quotes often go viral as he’s known for saying whatever comes to mind and often losing his train of thought while trying to get the interview over with as quickly as possible. These soundbites resonate with fans, as they are genuine and unpolished, contrasting the personas of his more extroverted teammates listed above.
Draymond Green: Emotional
Draymond Green is one of the most complex figures in the NBA. He’s intelligent, yet emotional. He’s respected, yet resented. Green is thought to have cost the Warriors the 2016 championship when he committed a Flagrant 1 foul against LeBron James, which sent him over the league’s limit allowed for the playoffs and consequently got him suspended. In an interview discussing the incident, Green said, “I do feel it’s my fault that we lost. But I don’t feel wrong for what I did at all.” Green plays with his emotions, he owns them, and this statement is on brand for him. When it comes to a media interview, he’s a wild card.
Want more marketing lessons from the Golden State Warriors? Check out our blog discussing how challenger brands can change the game.