Photo: Mike Kepka, The Chronicle
As the Golden State Warriors play their final games before moving to San Francisco next season, they’ll be leaving behind more than just memories in Oakland. If you’re a paranormal believer, you’ll be inclined to think they might be losing one of the NBA’s strangest competitive edges.
It’s no secret among ghost hunters that the Claremont Hotel, perched in the hills above the East Bay, is haunted. For as long as the hotel has stood, ghost stories have dogged its halls. The Claremont has also served as a temporary home for visiting NBA teams over the years, as some squads stayed in the historic rooms before games at Oracle Arena.
And although most likely had a quiet night’s sleep, it occasionally turned into a house of horrors for NBA stars, rattling their nerves and keeping them up before Warriors games.
In 2014, it was widely reported that several members of the San Antonio Spurs experienced strange activity in the hotel before a Warriors game. The “haunting” was severe enough that it even unnerved Tim Duncan.
The ordeal started when teammate Jeff Ayres found his hotel key didn’t work for the room he was assigned. Inside the room, he could have sworn he heard voices. So Ayres called down to the front desk.
“They’re like, ‘We can get you a new key and send you up with security and make sure nobody’s there, because there shouldn’t be anybody in there.’ Then they’re like, ‘We’ll just get you a new room.’ It was the creepiest thing,” Ayres told the San Antonio Express back in 2014. “I heard a couple of other guys heard babies in the hallway, kids running down the hallway. Creepy.
“I really heard voices and a baby in the room, and there wasn’t anybody in there. It was crazy.”
“I heard a baby in his room,” confirmed Duncan. “There was somebody or something in his room, yeah. I definitely heard something. It wasn’t creepy, because I assumed it was really somebody in the room, and they gave him the wrong room.
“But when they told me the story the next day about calling up there and no one in the room, it’s at that point you get chills. I totally agreed with him. There was a baby there, absolutely. I heard about the history of the place, and I’d rather not [stay there again].”
Although neither player specified at the time, the Claremont’s Room 422 is supposedly its most haunted. Many tales link the death of a six-year-old girl to the room, perhaps corroborating the Spurs’ claims of hearing babies crying.
A search through hundreds of local newspaper stories about the Claremont uncover no such tale, however. There were a number of violent deaths reported near the hotel, including a man in 1913 who was crushed by a runaway horse-drawn trailer and a 16-year-old Oakland girl named Ruby who died after falling from her bike down an embankment.
But in any case, as it so often does with purported hauntings, the stories continue.
Several requests for comment from the Claremont were not returned, but we’re willing to believe that perhaps the hotel ghost intercepted them.
Katie Dowd is the senior manager for SFGATE. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @katiedowd