As the Golden State Warriors wrapped up their second straight NBA title earlier this June, many fans were puzzled by what veteran big man David West had to say: “People were making this assumption that things were just easy, that things were just rolling along and this was some grand, old fantasy or whatever. And that just wasn’t the case. You know, there are challenges in every single NBA season. People don’t even know what we went through”. Everyone was surprised by this statement. After all, how much adversity can a team with 4 All Stars in the starting line-up face? They just went through the motions during the regular season and ended up beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0 in the Finals.
Well, the reason behind West’s cryptic comment has now been revealed. Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that the Warriors had to deal with a serious health hazard during their run to the Finals. Amick wrote: “According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the Warriors dealt with a team-wide meningitis scare in mid-March that was the root of West’s infamous comments. An outside vendor who handled the team’s food on a daily basis contracted a contagious form of the disease, then survived a life-threatening challenge before eventually returning to work with the team.”
The threat was so serious that most players and basketball staff were vaccinated and a practice session had to be moved out of the Warriors’ facility while it was being sanitised. Doctors had to be brought in to address the players and their concerns. David West, who is now retired, also addressed the situation: “It was just a serious health scare where, for me, it’s just something like, Wow. That was in my mind at the time (he made the statement after the NBA Finals). It was the entire team (who was affected). It was crazy. It was the heart of the season. It was something that, again, it showed the strength of the organisation (that they got through it to win the title).”
Ex Warriors center, Zaza Pachulia, a player renowned for his toughness and physical play, was also really concerned in the beginning but the doctors’ visit calmed his nerves: “Of course in the beginning, everyone was freaked out. But after hearing from professionals, (when) doctors talked to us and the team did all the necessary (things), they responded really well, and right away.”
Another ex-Warriors center JaVale McGee however, wasn’t really perturbed by the meningitis scare: “I grew up in the hood. Meningitis isn’t something I’m scared of.”