When Jordan Bell’s draft rights were acquired by the Golden State Warriors last summer, talk immediately began about the possibility of the former Long Beach Poly star winning an NBA title in his rookie season.
Last Friday night that’s exactly what happened as the Warriors completed an NBA Finals sweep of LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
It was an exhausting day for Bell, who has never been able to eat on game days because of his nerves before playing.
“After the game, after all the celebrations in the locker room and all the interviews, we didn’t end up leaving the Arena until like two in the morning,” said Sharrief Metoyer, Bell’s manager and his high school coach at Poly. “We had to get some food in him.”
Bell had a lot to celebrate. In addition to becoming the first Long Beach native and high school product to win an NBA title as a player, he blossomed in the playoffs. After riding the bench most of the first two rounds, he picked up big minutes against the Rockets, then averaged 12 minutes a game in the Finals with six points and three rebounds per game.
That’s why on Tuesday afternoon back in Oakland, he cut loose during the team’s parade and stole the show, swigging bottles of Hennessy with fans after jumping over barriers and partying shirtless with thousands of Warriors fans.
“It’s my first one so I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible, I didn’t want to act like I’ve been here before because I hadn’t,” he said after the parade’s conclusion. “I wanted to enjoy it with my family.”
Metoyer was on the bus with Bell, who shared the top of a double-decker with teammate Andre Iguodala. He also had childhood friend Shelly Brown, his brother Josh Bell, and mother Carolyn Gray, as well as his longtime girlfriend with him.
He agreed with experts who said all year that he found himself in a perfect situation, with not only great players around him, but also experienced veterans.
“They told me all year, this isn’t how it is,” he said. “They kept telling me to stay hungry—I’m enjoying it today but within a week I’ll be working. I always tell myself every year I should be able to kill myself from the last season in a one on one game.”
Bell has one more year left on his two-year rookie deal, then will enter free agency after next season. If he can continue to develop into what the Warriors hope he will be—their starting center—he could end up in a highly desirable situation 12 months from now.
Of course, having an NBA title at 22 years old isn’t a bad place either.
“I just want to get better and better and win another championship,” said Bell.