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sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Kuminga wants to be Warrior ‘for life' despite past frustrations

o NBCSBA (Poole): Kuminga wants to be Warrior ‘for life' despite past frustrationsRobin Miller

NBCSBA (Poole): Kuminga wants to be Warrior ‘for life' despite past frustrations


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: NBCSBA_(Poole):_Kuminga_wants_to_be_Warrior_‘
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 by: Robin Miller - Thu, 14 Mar 2024 17:16 UTC

Kuminga wants to be Warrior ‘for life' despite past frustrations

By Monte Poole

• Published 2 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO – After being part of the Warriors for 32 months, during
which he experienced bouts of restlessness and unease about his
relationship with his head coach, Jonathan Kuminga has reached a
conclusion about his future:

This is the franchise with which he wishes to remain. Forever.

“I would love to just be one of the Warriors for life – and just never
change,” Kuminga, sitting at Chase Center, said on the latest episode of
"Dubs Talk," which debuts Thursday.

The clarity is encouraging for the Warriors and welcomed by their fans,
some of whom might be feeling uncertain about Kuminga’s affinity for the
franchise that drafted him in July 2021.

Kuminga’s frustration peaked in early January, when the 21-year-old
forward, in his third season, voiced displeasure over inconsistent
playing time. He openly wondered if Golden State, under coach Steve
Kerr, was the right place to develop into a star.

Shortly after a one-on-one meeting Kerr and Kuminga both described as
productive, Kuminga’s performances became more trustworthy, with fewer
glaring errors. Before long, Kerr installed him in the starting lineup
alongside veterans Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

“I did not lose faith of being here; it’s not what I said,” Kuminga
said. “It was just definitely to a point where I felt like I need to be
[on the court]. I felt like I could help. I felt like there was just so
much left on the table where I felt like me and the young guys could go
out there and help Steph, Klay and Draymond.

“And, obviously, since that happened, we got a chance to have the young
guys on the floor. And having the young guys on the floor and everybody
playing is helping us win games, with everybody getting better every
other day.”

The Warriors have played their best basketball over the last six weeks,
going 15-8 since Kuminga entered the lineup. The improvements have
resulted in a happier team, with the feelings of discontent fading away
from Kuminga.

“It was just me trying to go out there and just find a way to play,”
Kuminga said. “Find a way to be on the floor. Find a way to help every
young guy get their chance. And as you see every young guy getting a
chance, including me, we are doing the things that we were supposed to
be doing. We're not going to help every day. We're not going to win
every day.

"But as you gain that experience, you’re going out there and just
helping as much as we can.”

Though his first two seasons offered flashes of spectacular alternating
with maddening blunders, Kuminga is coming into his own and has been a
fixture in the starting lineup since late January.

It took some time because it usually does for any teenager entering the
NBA – particularly one without a minute of college experience who grew
up in Africa idolizing the late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Kuminga wanted to emulate Bryant before honing the fundamentals and
nuance required as part of the process. With his game starting to
mature, Kuminga is beginning to recognize the value of his surroundings
as established by one of his biggest fans: Warriors CEO Joe Lacob.

Kuminga wants to play for Kerr, the same coach who at times benched him
in the 2023 NBA playoffs. Kuminga also wants to join Golden State’s
four-ring club – Curry, Green and Thompson – as 21st century franchise

“When I look at those three people – Steph and Klay and Draymond – and I
look at their pictures in the practice facility every day, I'm like,
‘This is where I want to be.’ I want to be right there.” Kuminga said.
“I want to play here my whole life.

“You don't choose and control where you want to be, but that's the goal.
That's where I want to be. I want my name hanging next to those guys one
day. And, you know, anywhere you get drafted, you always have love for
the places you get drafted. And, obviously, I got drafted here. The
people are great. They always take care of me. They're always helping me
grow as a person.”

Curry has expressed a desire to remain a Warrior for life. Green and
Thompson have stated they want the same. But as time passes, and that
trio ages out of the league, the Warriors would like to cultivate others
with star potential who lift them to similar heights and feel the same
way about the franchise.

Kuminga projects as perhaps the next such player.

“Obviously, my favorite player was a Laker for life,” he said, referring
to Bryant’s allegiance to LA. “So, obviously, I would love to be a
Warrior for life.”

sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Kuminga wants to be Warrior ‘for life' despite past frustrations


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