OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Tyrone Lee Jones wasn’t taking any chances, he set up his encampment on the grass at Lake Merritt 18 hours before the start of the Golden State Warriors victory celebration.
Oakland officials said they expect 1.5 million people to attend the parade and celebration – that’s 500,000 more than in 2015.
Early Thursday morning, BART was announcing its commuter trains connecting the East Bay communities and San Francisco to Oakland were already jammed packed.
Jones was well aware of the expected surge of people.
“There’s gonna be a lot of people out here, so we wanted to get a good spot,” Jones said as he sat in his lawn chair with his sleep bags and tent piled up next to him.
Sitting nearby, Rhonda Nance also was settling in for a night under the stars.
“I might get a few mosquito bites or maybe a few rodents, I’m a little scared,” she said. “But I’ve got these guys here to help me and encourage me to be here for the NBA champions.”
Visit Oakland’s Frances Wong said the anticipation for another victory celebration has been building up since the last victory parade in 2015.
“The Warriors picked up a lot more fans from their 2015, 2016 run and this year we clinched another championship and so everybody’s super excited,” she said.
Along the parade Wednesday night, the local street artists known as ‘The Illuminaries’ were finishing up a mural on the side of a building featuring the NBA Championship trophy.
“What we wanted was something where people could just take a photo with the trophy,” he said. “No one really gets to see the trophy from hundreds of yards away if you wait in crowds.”
In the pre-dawn hours, Warriors season-ticket holder Nick Wong, who was wearing gold and blue striped overalls, a championship hat and shoes laced with blue and gold laces, was scouting out the parade route.
“I was here the last time (2015) so that is why I’m here so early,” he said. “I remember how crazy it was.”
For long-time Warriors season ticket Holder Marty Glick and his young neighbor Damian Wiszynski Thursday was the start of what was to be a special day. Glick is a long-time season ticket holder and was selected by the Warriors to ride in the parade.
“I couldn’t believe when my mom told me,” said Wiszynski. “I thought she was lying to me when she told me and them I was just screaming.”
Jones, Nance and Wong weren’t the only ones ready for the celebration. Robin Schreiber — who gained fame as the ‘Dance Cam Mom’ at Warriors game — released a special rap on social media just in time for the celebration.