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NBA (National Basketball Association)

Why Golden State Warriors could skip Donald Trump White House visit

NBA champions say no decision has been made regarding Washington trip but president has been criticised by members of the franchise before

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 June, 2017, 12:46pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 June, 2017, 4:07pm

The Golden State Warriors say they have made no decision regarding a visit to President Donald Trump at the White House.

But if previous comments made by members of the NBA champions are anything to go by, the signs suggest they may decline any invitation were it to be offered.

Warriors small forward Andre Iguodala believes such an offer may not even be extended from Washington.

“Maybe [Trump] doesn’t [invite us] and we don’t go, or we don’t say anything and make a big deal of it, and he doesn’t make a big deal of it and we go our separate ways,” Iguodala told USA Today going into game five of his side’s NBA Finals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Y’all might write about it. I might call him and say, ‘If they ask, just say our schedules conflicted’. And then if y’all write something, we’ll say, ‘Fake News’.”

The question of whether the Warriors would visit Trump resurfaced soon after their title-clinching win over the Cavs, when a CNBC analyst tweeted that there had been a unanimous agreement among the champions to skip the traditional visit.

A statement was soon issued by the franchise in response. “Today is all about celebrating our championship,” it read.

“We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.”

It might be a while before such an invitation even comes – after winning the title in 2015, Stephen Curry and co did not make the trip to see then-President Barack Obama at the White House until the following February. Last season’s champions the Cavaliers then visited Obama in November, shortly after Trump was elected.

“I don’t know, I probably won’t,” veteran Warriors forward David West told The Undefeated when asked if he would accept an invitation.

Iguodala was a little more forthcoming. “Hell nah,” was his verdict.

But displaying public discontentment towards Trump is nothing new among the Warriors.

Coach Steve Kerr, who has masterminded two titles in three seasons in Oakland, has been a vocal critic of the president in the past.

Last month he labelled Trump a “blowhard” who “couldn’t be more ill-suited to be president”.

He also expressed his disappointment with the election results last November.

“The man who’s going to lead you has routinely used racist, misogynist, insulting words, that’s a tough one,” Kerr said of Trump at the time.

“It’s tough when you want there to be some respect and dignity and there hasn’t been any and then you walk into a room with your daughter and your wife who have basically been insulted by his comments and they’re distraught.

“And you walk in and see the faces of your players, most of them who have been insulted directly as minorities, it’s sort of shocking. It really is.”

Curry also took a dig at Trump in February in response to Under Armor chief Kevin Plank calling Trump “a real asset for the country”. Curry, who has a sponsorship deal with the company, said he would agree with that description “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset”.

Members of Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots and national college football champions Clemson have visited the White House for championship celebrations since Trump took office.

And later on Tuesday, the CEO of Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins said they would never turn down a potential White House visit.

“If invited, we would go as a team,” said David Morehouse. “We respect the office of the presidency of the United States and what it stands for. Any opposition or disagreement with a president’s policies, or agenda, can be expressed in other ways.”

Will the NBA champions follow suit?

“We’re going to do what our leader [Curry] does,” Iguodala continued. “I think we handle it when it gets there. I mean, it may be different. There might be somebody different in [office]. That’s a realistic thing to say though, right? So you don’t know what’s going to happen.”