As of 2017, the Warriors are the third most valuable NBA franchise according to Forbes, with an estimated value of .6 billion.The team was established in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a founding member of the Basketball Association of America (BAA).

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Through the NBA draft, however, they acquired some players such as high-scoring forward Purvis Short (1978), former Purdue center Joe Barry Carroll (1980) and center Robert Parish (1976), who was traded to the Boston Celtics in 1980 along with the draft pick that would become Kevin Mc Hale for the pick used to draft Carroll.

In 1983, the Warriors matched the New York Knicks' offer for free-agent Bernard King, but, unable to pay his high salary, quickly traded him to the Knicks for guard Micheal Ray Richardson, whom they soon shipped to New Jersey in exchange for former Georgetown Hoya point guard Eric "Sleepy" Floyd, and journeyman forward Mickey Johnson.

In 1962, Franklin Mieuli purchased the majority shares of the team and relocated the franchise to the San Francisco Bay Area, renaming them the San Francisco Warriors.

The Warriors played most of their home games at the Cow Palace in Daly City (the facility lies just south of the San Francisco city limits) from 1962 to 1964 and the San Francisco Civic Auditorium from 1964 to 1966, though occasionally playing home games in nearby cities such as Oakland and San Jose.

The Warrior stars of this era were future Hall of Famers Paul Arizin, Tom Gola and Neil Johnston.

In 1959, the team signed draft pick Wilt Chamberlain.

They were upset, however, by the 42-40 Phoenix Suns in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.

Because of the loss of key players such as Barry, Wilkes and Thurmond to trades and retirements, the Warriors struggled to put a competitive team on the court from 1978 to 1987 after being one of the NBA's dominant teams in the 1960s and most of the 1970s.

Known as "Wilt the Stilt", he led the team in scoring six times, quickly began shattering NBA scoring records and changed the NBA style of play forever.