Story and photos by Ike Dodson, CDCR PIO
Office of Public and Employee Communications

The San Quentin Warriors, a collection of elite inmate basketballers at California’s oldest correctional facility, held onto a narrow lead in the final seconds to beat a team of Silicon Valley software executives and Golden State Warriors General Manager Bob Myers in a recent high-intensity pickup game on San Quentin State Prison’s lower yard.

Myers made the trek with members of Golden State’s operations staff and Warriors’ center JaVale McGee, an essential member of the 2017 NBA Championship squad.

McGee and Myers carried the dazzling Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy down into the lower yard, and were soon swarmed by hundreds of inmates, most desperate for a photo with Golden State players and staff, or a signature on shirts, hat, shoes, even photos of loved ones.

After an introduction from San Quentin’s inmate operations crew, Myers and Co. tipped off a high-energy contest with big talent on both sides of the court. The San Quentin Warriors prevailed 102-101, despite 32 points and 31 rebounds from Myers, the 2014-15 NBA Executive of the Year considered one of the top GMs in the league. Myers won a NCAA Championship with UCLA in 1995.

While Myers was putting in work on the yard, McGee thrilled inmates by joining the charismatic commentary team on yard loudspeakers. He left his courtside post to play chess against eager inmate challengers.

McGee shouldn’t quit his day job. Inmates needed only a handful of moves to showcase their superiority on yard boards.

The Warriors’ visit to San Quentin has become an institution tradition looked forward to every year by staff and inmates. The event incorporates athletics and fellowship, while athletics in general help offenders develop teamwork and communication skills in addition to maintaining physical fitness. Events like this encourage positive behavior from inmates, and provide an incentive for incarcerated people to remain disciplinary-free and get involved in rehabilitative programming.