Donald Trump has withdrawn an invitation to NBA champions Golden State Warriors to visit the White House after Steph Curry declared ‘I don’t want to go’.
‘Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team,’ the president tweeted Saturday morning. ‘Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!’
The Golden State Warriors players and coaches were set to make a joint decision as to whether or not they’ll visit Trump to celebrate their 2016-17 NBA Championship at this season.
‘I don’t want to go,’ Warriors All-Star and former NBA MVP Curry said at Friday’s media day. ‘That’s kind of the nucleus of my belief.’
‘It’s not just me going to the White House,’ he continued. ‘If it was, this would be a pretty short conversation. Like I said, it’s the organization, it’s the team. It’s hard to say because I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do. If we do go, don’t go or whatever, my beliefs stay the same.’
Donald Trump has withdrawn an invitation to NBA champions Golden State Warriors
‘I don’t want to go,’ Warriors All-Star and former NBA MVP Stephen Curry said at Friday’s media day (pictured)
Coach Steve Kerr told ESPN that the Warriors would meet as a team to discuss it and make a decision. He added that the White House has yet to extend a White House invitation, which customarily is made during a congratulatory call after a team has won a title.
Traditionally, the reigning champions in major American team sports visit the White House when they’re in Washington. The Warriors did meet with then-President Barack Obama after winning the 2014-15 NBA title, but the team was not openly critical of Obama as it has been of Trump.
Finals MVP Kevin Durant previously told ESPN that he ‘doesn’t respect’ the President and would refuse to go the White House.
Steph Curry (left) and Andre Iguodala (right) celebrate their second title in three years
‘I don’t agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,’ said Durant. ‘That’s just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they’ll all agree with me.’
Kerr has been publicly critical of Trump as well.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard, the five-time champion NBA player and two-time champion NBA coach questioned if ‘anyone ever thought that Donald Trump was a great leader?’
In a transcript that didn’t make Ballard’s article, he asked Kerr if Trump’s personality could work as an NBA coach.
‘I think it probably could have worked twenty or thirty years ago,’ said Kerr. ‘Think about [fiery former Indiana coach] Bobby Knight. My personal opinion is Bobby Knight’s way smarter than Donald Trump. Bobby Knight was brilliant in a lot of ways. So there was some real foundation in terms of knowing and coaching the game. But he was a bully, so…’
‘I think being a bully doesn’t work today, or at least it doesn’t work in coaching,’ Kerr continued. ‘The modern coach has to be much more communicative, flexible, aware, conscientious, all those things.’
‘Frankly,’ said Kerr, ‘I think it’s why Trump couldn’t be more ill-suited to be a President, because he’s a blowhard. You don’t see some of the qualities you talk about, the resilience, the ability to communicate, the compassion. None of that. But in the old days, a lot of great coaches who maybe didn’t have those, there was still a fiber there, whatever it was. To be a great leader, there have to be some qualities in there.’
Trump’s withdrawal of the invitation comes after her called on NFL owners to fire players who take a knee during the national anthem.
‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners… when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a b***h off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”‘ Trump said during a political rally in Alabama on Friday.
Trump’s withdrawal of the invitation comes after her called on NFL owners to fire players who take a knee during the national anthem. Though the president never mentioned any players by name, he was most likely referring to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (center on January 1 2017)
Trump said that any NFL owner who removed a protesting player from his team ‘be the most popular person in this country. Because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for.’
The president said that if fans would ‘leave the stadium’ in response to the protests, the players would stop.
‘The only thing you could do better,’ Trump said, ‘is if you see it, even if it’s just one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway.’
Though the president never mentioned any players by name, he was most likely referring to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick was the first prominent NFL star to draw attention for refusing to stand during the national anthem as an act of protest against police shootings of African-Americans.
The Warriors did visit President Barack Obama at the White House after winning a title in 2015
Donald Trump welcomed to the reigning champion Chicago Cubs to the White House in June
The reigning Major League Baseball champion Chicago Cubs did visit Trump in June even after previously visiting Obama, the native Chicagoan, before he left office.
NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant previously said he would not visit Trump at the White House
Oddly enough, Dan Gilbert, owner of the defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers, visited the White House with the Cubs in June.
According to ESPN, Gilbert was only there that day in his role as CEO of Quicken Loans to discuss business with Trump. Gilbert’s Cavaliers are 1-2 against the Warriors in the Finals over the last three seasons.
Previous presidents have had similar situations. After winning a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011, goaltender Tim Thomas declined to meet with Obama, citing his objections to both political parties.
And after the Detroit Pistons won the NBA title in 2004, power forward Rasheed Wallace publicly questioned whether he would meet with then-President George W. Bush.
Wallace ultimately did go to the White House and even shared a touching moment with Bush when the President picked up Wallace’s crying infant daughter and handed him to her father.