Chase Center is coming together, and Kevin Durant likes what he sees.
The Warriors superstar took a tour of the team’s future home Friday afternoon, which left him semi-speechless at times.
“I don’t even really know what to say,” said Durant, staring up at the massive facade, still under construction. “This is incredible. Incredible establishment, man. To play basketball in this. It’s a dream come true, man.”
He didn’t say whether he’s going to live to witness that dream in person next season, but you have to figure Chase Center may be the perfect motivation to sign on the dotted line.
“My imagination is going wild right now. The possibilities,” said Durant, a few minutes later, looking out onto the future court.
The possibility of re-signing Durant is actually a story for another day. Whether the former NBA MVP comes back to keep chasing rings with Steph Curry & Co. is an issue for Warriors GM Bob Myers to wrestle down. Friday was about Chase Center, which is coming into form in San Francisco’s booming Mission Bay neighborhood.
Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts was on hand to show off his baby, while also announcing a business partnership with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the Silicon Valley firm tasked with providing the digital networking infrastructure at the facility. It’ll be a big job.
Chase Center looks like a giant spaceship landed in the city. Luckily, it’s a beautiful spaceship that will feature massive glass vestibules, an 18,064-seat arena, 100,000 square feet for stores and eateries and 580,000 square feet of commercial office space, spread over two structures. (Uber plans to put 7,000 workers there.)
The arena is massive. The whole area surrounding it is a beehive of construction activity right now, and will continue that way until Chase opens in October of 2019.
“We truly want to be a global destination,” said Welts. “This is really about creating memories. … It’s so exciting to see the transformation of a whole new part of San Francisco.”
“We’re very lucky to have the team we have. The city we live in.”
This has been Welts’ project all along, ever since owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber tasked him with getting it done. It hasn’t been an easy road, with opposition coming from local business groups and community activists. But Welts’ perservered, and there he stood. On the floor of the massive structure … with Durant by his side.
“When he gets the keys, he’s gonna cry,” joked Durant, gently needling Welts, an NBA Hall of Famer. “His baby, for sure.”
KD was in full safety gear for the tour. Hard hat. Vest. Protective eyeware. Warriors PR folks had to run out and get the man a pair of size 18 work boots to walk the site. He looked great — the world’s tallest construction worker.
The engineers leading the tour showed KD everything he might want to see. Where the underground parking will be for the players. How big the lockerroom would be. Where the media room was located. They even showed him the visiting lockerroom, which will be lavish compared to Oracle Arena. Warriors opponents will have hot and cold soaking tubs, for crying out loud!
“They don’t need all that,” quipped Durant. (Could that be the sign Warriors fans are looking for? He did say ‘they,’ right??! Easy now…)
Welts told Durant about the special features coming in to help pamper the players. The locker room will have a full kitchen and chef. It’ll even have a barber shop. Durant seemed to love that idea.
I asked him if he told his teammates that he was coming to see the new place, and he chuckled a bit.
“No, I didn’t actually,” he said. “I didn’t really know exactly what I was getting myself into today. Nice surprise.”
As the Warriors big man walked around on the dusty floor where the court will one day sit, you could hear construction workers whooping and hollering from the rafters, shouting down to one of their heroes. “KD!” they yelled. “We’re working as fast as we can!”
Durant gave them a wave and shook his head in awe.
“A lot of points going to be scored in here,” he said.
But how many by Kevin Durant?