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NBA: ESTRELLADO RETURNS AS WARRIORS DANCER

Notre Dame graduate enters second season as Golden State dancer

By Patrick Lujan

Imagine being courtside, just a few feet away from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at all the Golden State Warriors games.

Guam’s Rusty Estrellado has made the Golden State Warriors Dance Team for the second straight year.

Guam’s Rusty Estrellado is one lucky dude who gets that opportunity as he heads into his second season as a Warriors Dancer.

“It was crazy, because I’m a big Warriors fan and I didn’t know there are dance teams in the NBA,” Estrellado remembers about first making the team in 2022.

The 31-year-old former Tamuning resident is an active duty Air Force Senior Airman stationed at Travis Air Force Base with the 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron. Joining the military was part of the plan of expanding his dancing horizons that began when he was just 4 years old.

“(Joining the military) was always on the back on my mind when I was on Guam, and I finally pulled the trigger. I’m glad I did it. I’ve been dancing my whole life back home, teaching in the studios. I felt like there was a lot more I can do out here, in terms of the entertainment industry.”

With Travis AFB being his first duty station, Estrellado eventually came across auditioning for Golden State after networking with other dancers in the Bay Area.

He says his first selection last summer was pure validation on everything he’s done in his dancing career.

“It was one of those moments where I felt like all my hard work paid off back home. It was nice knowing where I’m at in terms of my level of performing. I never once sat down to think of where I am at. I was always an instructor or teacher back home. Coming here not knowing anybody, it was nice because I started from the bottom to see where I’m at.”

SrA Estrellado is stationed at Travis Air Force Base north of Sacramento part of the 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Original Kobe fan

Estrellado said he became a Warriors fan when the great Kobe Bryant retired in 2016. “I was born a Lakers fan because of my dad (Bobby). We’re a big Laker family. After Kobe, I started following Stephen Curry.”

Fast forward a few years later, the island boy now patrols the Warriors sidelines and cheers on Curry and the Warriors.

“We cross pass paths every game,” Rusty said about Curry. “Every now and then, (he says hi). We’re at work so we don’t really talk. A little interaction here and there.”

Heading into his second season with the Warriors, he is now considered a veteran of the squad and tries to help the rookies adapt to the big stage.

“The stage is different – it’s really a court with 15 to 20,000 people with fans and celebrities watching you. You got to entertain and hype up the crowd.”

The Beginning

Rusty said all things started when he was just 4 years old.

“I was forced to dance and go with my sister (KayC) to SKIP. My parents didn’t know what to do with us during summer so they signed us up for dance classes.”

It took years before Rusty had a true itch for the art of dance. In fact, it wasn’t until after graduating from Notre Dame High School in 2009 that he took it more serious with an interest in MTV’s America’s Best Dance Group and the urban street dancing.

He and friends formed the local group Urban Individuals, which went on to win Guam’s Best Dance Group competition. That opened teaching gigs with Urban Studios, Dance Jazz, Fusion, Talent Box and even a JFK dance group.

The Future

With his present stance in the Bay Area as a full-time military airman and part-time NBA dancer, Rusty is planning accordingly on his next steps in life.

“I’m just seeing where my careers can take me. I’m not sure of the military because of the dance gigs. I’m hoping to go full-time in dance and see where it takes me. The military was a step for me to leave and Guam and pursue my goals before I get married and have kids.”

Whatever the next gig he gets, having the Golden State Warriors on his resume will be a huge plus. Congratulations Rusty and have a great second season with Steph and the boys!

Rusty Estrellado and his Urban Individuals crew in 2014 winning the Guam’s Best Dance Group competition at the Sister Roberta Center in Tamuning. (courtesy photo)

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COMING SOON …

  • 3rd Quarter Sports: Rugby, Boys Basketball, Softball, Tennis in full swing!

 

 

QUICK HITS

The Guam men’s national basketball team moved up four slots in the FIBA World Ranking to #72 after an impressive win over Mongolia and a hard-fought loss to Japan.
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Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.

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