The Bay Area in Northern California will host the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals this weekend.
Golden State advanced to the NBA Finals for a second straight year with Monday night’s victory over Oklahoma City. The neighboring NHL franchise in San Jose punched its ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals, last Wednesday.
The shared spotlight marks just the ninth time in professional sports history that an NBA and NHL team from the same market will play in their respective championships at the same time.
The Warriors host Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Two days later and 37 miles south on I-880, the Sharks bring the Stanley Cup Finals to the SAP Center in San Jose.
Five years ago, Golden State won just 23 games and had made the playoffs only once in 18 seasons. The Sharks were regular postseason contenders, but had never made it past the conference finals and missed the playoffs last season for the first time in 11 years.
These storylines might dare Minnesotans to dream that a Twin Cities NBA and NHL championship crossover might not be far off.
The Timberwolves and Wild both changed coaches this offseason and aggressively pursued the best available talent.
New Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden have a strong core of young talent to build on with back-to-back Rookie of the Year winners Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. The Wolves have missed the postseason 12 straight years.
New Wild coach Bruce Boudreau will attempt to find support for his veteran stars and help propel the club deep into the postseason. The Wild were ousted in the first round of the playoffs this season and the second round in the previous two seasons.
The pieces for each franchise are coming together for a possible big Twin Cities summer sports party, but the Wild are likely a lot closer than the Wolves.
Courtesy of the San Jose Mercury, here’s a breakdown of the eight previous times the NHL/NBA finals were played in the same market:
None of those eight previous instances resulted in both of the local teams winning.
2003: The New Jersey Devils won the Cup, but the Nets lost in the NBA Finals.
1994: The New York Rangers won the Cup, but the Knicks lost.
1993: The Chicago Bulls won the NBA Finals, but the Blackhawks lost.
1980: The 76ers and the Flyers lost. (Oh, Philly.)
1974: The Boston Celtics won, but the Bruins lost.
1972: The New York Knicks and Rangers lost.
1958: The Celtics won, but the Bruins lost.
1957: The Celtics won, but the Bruins lost.
The Twins got a taste of the excitement stirring through the Bay Area. After Monday’s loss against the Oakland A’s, some of the players attended the Warriors’ Game 7 victory over Oklahoma City. Twins communications and player relations director Dustin Morse tweeted this photo:
Winner! pic.twitter.com/13zqWiaqh4— Dustin Morse (@Twins_morsecode) May 31, 2016