The Golden State Warriors are welcome to celebrate their NBA championship at Capitol Hill should the team decide against going to the White House and see Donald Trump.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif) has forwarded a letter to the Warriors inviting them to come to Capitol Hill and take part in a simple meet-and-greet affair, possibly a tour of the Capitol Building, and partake of some grub from the cafeteria.
“In celebration of your victory, we would be delighted to welcome you publicly as a team or personally as families to the United States Capitol.”
When pressed for a reason why Pelosi and Lee have extended the “blanket invitation” to the Warriors, Pelosi said she simply would like for the Warriors to bring their families when they want to come and that they will welcome the team just as they welcome all of America’s families.
A Democratic staffer further shared that the invitation is not only a way to celebrate the Warriors but to honor their commitment to those values. SB Nation reported that the invitation was an anti-Trump invitation, according to a certain Congressional aide.
“This is a nod to the Warriors leadership on and off the court: many of the players and Coach Kerr’s vocal opposition to the bigotry and Anti-American values of Trump.”
The two Democrats from the Bay Area will not be hosting a White House-like event meant only for the coach and players. Capitol Hill will also welcome members of the team’s staff and even the families of the Warriors.
It is customary for newly-crowned NBA champions to visit the White House upon the invitation of the sitting president. Donald Trump has yet to extend an invitation but so far, it appears Dub City will snub the invitation should it come. Stephen Curry, for one, has already expressed that he doesn’t feel like going, though he did say that the Warriors, as a team, will talk about it and decide once the invitation comes.
“Somebody asked me about [going to the White House] a couple of months ago. Like, a hypothetical, if the championship were to happen would I do it and I think I answered ‘I wouldn’t go.’ I still feel like that today.”
Andre Iguodala is another vocal critic of Trump who is not interested in meeting the president in the White House. The former Finals MVP insisted, however, that he will see what Curry’s decision will be and use it as a guide for his own decision.
As for Steve Kerr, he already reiterated that he is willing to go pay Trump a visit at the White House despite being a well-known critic of the president. Kerr has been vocal about his disapproval of Trump. In fact, Kerr went on record to criticize the Trump immigration ban. He went further by describing Trump as “ill-suited for office.”
“I’ve been a very outspoken critic of Trump, so as a result maybe we won’t even get the invitation.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Kerr explained during an interview on the TK Show that he will leave the decision of going to the White House for the traditional ceremony to his players. However, he believes that it is “important to consider a potential invitation” as there might be “positive ramifications” if the Warriors do go.
“Hey, let’s put this aside, put all this partisan stuff aside an personal stuff aside, respect the institution and maybe, if you know, one of you players wants to voice your concerns over what’s happening, what better opportunity to do so.”
The Warriors led by Kerr, Curry, and Iguodala visited the White House and President Barack Obama after winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2015. The team presented Obama with a Warriors jersey with the number 44 since he was the 44th President of the United States. Kerr has no idea what the Warriors would present Trump if they do get an invite and decide to go.
The tradition of sports teams visiting the White House started in 1865 during the time of President Andrew Johnson. The first sports teams welcomed into the White House were the Brooklyn Atlantics and Washington Nationals, a pair of amateur baseball clubs. The Boston Celtics won the NBA championship in 1963 and were welcomed into the White House by the late John F. Kennedy. The practice did not become a tradition, however, until the administration of former President Ronald Reagan.
If the Warriors skip the tradition, they will be the first professional team to do so. However, they are not the first NBA players to ditch an invitation to the White House. Larry Bird did so in 1984 after which he told a reporter that President Reagan knew where to find him. When the Chicago Bulls won in 1991, Michael Jordan decided playing golf was a better way to spend the day than go with his teammates to pay George H.W. Bush a visit in the White House.
Craig Hodges, a member of the 1992 Bulls which won the championship and went to the White House, wore a traditional dashiki and handed a letter to President George H.W. Bush which condemned the treatment of minorities. Hodges was out of the league the following season.
If the Warriors decide to go to the White House and the players plan to express their thoughts on Trump and his administration, maybe they would like to look at the case of Hodges who was frozen out of the NBA after speaking his mind. That said, Capitol Hill seems like a better alternative than the White House.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]