UPDATE — 6/15, 8:34 a.m. EDT: Speaking to the media on Wednesday about unverified reports the NBA’s 2017 champion Golden State Warriors “unanimously” voted to turn down any invitation to visit the White House, team point guard Stephen Curry said he still “wouldn’t go”, after saying the same earlier in the year.
According to backup point guard Shaun Livingston, as captains, Curry and backup shooting guard Andre Iguodala lead the team’s decision about the potential trip, but, “Other guys weigh in. Everyone has a voice.”
Both the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and NCAA football champion Clemson Tigers have participated in White House celebrations since President Trump took office, and CEO of the recently crown NHL Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins indicated his team will also go to the nation’s capital if invited.
The morning after Oakland’s Golden State Warriors were crowned 2017 NBA champions following a 129–120 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night, Twitter was abuzz with rumors that the team would skip an annual White House ceremony honoring professional basketball’s ultimate winner.
NBA champion Warriors skipping the White House visit, as a unanimous team decision per reports.
— Downtown Josh Brown (@ReformedBroker) June 13, 2017
EXCLUSIVE: NBA championship winning Warriors decide unanimously as a team they will boycott White House invitation to meet President Trump. pic.twitter.com/cTQoOKdiLw
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) June 13, 2017
The still unsubstantiated reports will not come as a shock to anyone who has followed the NBA or American politics over the past year or so, as Warrior players, and most notably, Golden State coach Steve Kerr, have made their sentiments about Donald Trump public.
As recently as May, Kerr called Trump a “blowhard” who “couldn’t be more ill-suited to be president.” Following the November 2016 election, Kerr was a guest on David Axelrod’s “The Axe Files” podcast and stated his case against the then-president elect.
“People vote for all kinds of reasons, right? You vote for your pocket book. You vote for abortion rights or gay marriage or you vote for certain social policies or maybe foreign policy.” Kerr said. “And that’s what it should be about. You should vote based on policy. But this election had nothing to do with policy. It had to do with hatred and fear and we had a candidate who stirred that up, and I thought it was a horrible precedent for our country.”
Other Golden State basketball personnel have spoken out against President Trump, including All-Star point guard Stephen Curry, who disagreed with Under Armor CEO Kevin Plank’s lauded Trump as a “real asset.”
“I agree with that description,” Curry said, “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
Warriors’ forward David West took a more serious approach then his teammate after Trump was elected, lamenting America’s lost ideals following eight years of President Obama.
“This whole fairy tale about this post-racial utopia that Obama supposedly created is all bull,” West said. “That’s the bottom line. When you look at what the results say from last night, this nation has not moved a thread in terms of its ideals.”
The entire Warriors roster doesn’t agree with its head coach and anti-Trump teammates politically, however. Asked in February if he would visit the White House should his team win the NBA championship, All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson said being invited would be a “great honor.”
Although the Warriors have yet to be asked to meet Trump in Washington, ignoring the NBA 2016–’17 NBA title holders may not be the wisest choice for America’s most unpopular president since Bill Clinton in 1993. The most recent polls, in fact, show Trump with an approval rating that has steadily declined from the beginning of February.
“Today is all about celebrating our championship. We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary,” a Warriors team spokesperson told Business Insider when asked for comment.
The president’s overall RCP average approval rating currently sits at less than 39 percent, including only 28 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos survey released last week.
[NBC Sports] [CNN] [RealClear Politics] [SF Gate] [Photo courtesy Daily Mail]