The NBA Champions Golden State Warriors declined to meet with Donald Trump in the traditional post-championship visit with the president, instead opting to visit former president Barack Obama, the San José Mercury News is reporting.
The Warriors were in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, headed through town to take on the Wizards when they made a brief detour. There, they met with former president Barack Obama and even posed for a picture on the team Instagram page, though the picture was later deleted. All of the members of the team were present, except for forward Jonas Jerebko, who had stayed home in the Bay Area for the birth of his second child. The team met with Obama “for about an hour,” said a source.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr didn’t have much to say about his team’s activities when asked about it by a reporter.
“That’s private. Appreciate the question. Doesn’t mean I have to answer it.”
Forward Draymond Green was equally circumspect.
“It was good. Private team meeting and team event.”
The Warriors and Trump haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye since Trump took office. Back in June 2018, as Fox News reported at the time, Trump made it clear that neither the Warriors nor their opponents, the Cleveland Cavaliers, would be invited to the White House after the star players on both teams made critical comments about the Trump administration.
“I didn’t invite LeBron James, and I didn’t invite Steph Curry. We’re not going to invite either team. If they want to be here, it’s the greatest place on Earth. I’m here. If they don’t want to be here, I don’t want them.”
The Golden State Warriors, who did not visit the White House after winning the NBA Championship the past two years, spent some time with former President Barack Obama— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 25, 2019
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The Tradition Of Sports Champions Visiting The White House
For about a century now, it’s been a tradition for a championship sports team to visit the president sometime after their victory. According to a 2017 Rolling Stone report, the tradition began in 1924 when Calvin Coolidge invited the MLB champion Washington Senators to the White House for a visit. In 1963, John F. Kennedy invited the NBA’s Boston Celtics for a visit.
However, professional athletes have political views, and some have declined to visit the president on that basis. Several players and even whole teams have declined to visit Donald Trump since his administration, though Trump is not the only president to have an athlete or team decline to visit him after a championship. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, for example, famously declined to meet with Barack Obama, citing a “family commitment.”
Still, some teams have visited Trump after winning a championship. Just last week, the college football champion Clemson Tigers stopped by the Oval Office where, thanks to the government shutdown laying off most of the White House catering staff, Trump ordered hamburgers from a nearby fast food place for the players.