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The Warriors will be giving out 20,000 yellow T-shirts with the words "WE BELIEVE" emblazoned across the front. So, for Game 3 of the Western Conference first-round playoffs tonight at Oracle Arena in Oakland, there will be a collective declaration of faith in the Warriors, demonstrated by a sea of yellow.

And Paul Wong, a 34-year-old Alameda resident, will be honored by the gesture.

"We Believe" has been the Warriors' slogan for the last couple months of the season and the playoffs. But it's not the creative idea of the Warriors' marketing department. It's not an advertising ploy by a local newspaper.

It is, however, a testament of how die-hard Warriors fans are.

Wong, owner and chef of the barbecue restaurant Hawaiian Drive Inn in Alameda, is the die-hard fan responsible for the "We Believe" campaign. It all started as a movement to get people to believe in the Warriors. Though they were seven games under .500 at the time, Wong sensed the Warriors had their swagger back after winning at Detroit on March 6.

He really believed the Warriors had the talent and were just one strong late-season run away from reaching the playoffs. He wanted them to come home to a supportive crowd, so he printed out 150 signs -- yellow paper with big black letters that read "WE BELIEVE" -- and passed them out at the Denver game.

He was surprised when he was met with ridicule.


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"People told me I was crazy," said Wong, a season-ticket holder the last eight years. "They told me I was on drugs."

Three or four wins later, fans were pining for the yellow signs. He upped his supply to 300, then 500, then 1,000. He even took 350 signs to the Warriors' game at Sacramento, where he said they went like hotcakes. For the home finale against Dallas on April 17, Wong printed out 4,000 signs -- which cost him $2,000.

All told, he has spent better than $5,000 printing signs for his "We Believe" campaign. He wanted to make sure it was totally a gesture from the fans, so he took no handouts from the Warriors organization. No autographs. No memorabilia. No meet-and-greets.

The Warriors game operations staff approached Wong about sharing the costs, but Wong declined. What's more, he didn't so much as allow any Warriors staff members to help him pass out the signs because he didn't want it to appear as if the organization had anything to do with it.

"I didn't even want the Warriors personnel to touch my signs," Wong said. "I wanted to be 100 percent from a fan's passions. I didn't want people to think it was another Warriors gimmick or anything. I just wanted everyone to believe. That's all I wanted."

Contact Marcus Thompson II at mthompson2@cctimes.com.