On June 13, the Toronto Raptors defeated the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors to win the first NBA championship in the Raptors’ 24-season history, as Reuters recapped. The championship was the first for an NBA team in Canada, and the first for a Canadian franchise in any of the four major North American professional sports — basketball, baseball, football, and hockey — since 1993 when both the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball, and the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League won titles in their respective leagues.
Though it is customary for the champions of the major pro sports leagues to be extended invitations to visit the White House, due to Donald Trump’s presence there, the Warriors did not take part in the visit — and now it appears the Raptors will skip the drop-in with Trump as well.
“To put it politely, I think it’s a hard no,” Raptors shooting guard Danny Green said in an interview when asked about how the team would respond if invited to visit Trump, as quoted by The Washington Post.
“I try to respect everybody in every field that they do regardless of how crazy things are. But he makes it really hard. He makes it very, very tough to respect how he goes about things and does things.”
The last NBA champion to visit the White House was the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 — when Barack Obama was in the final year of his presidency. In 2017, Trump announced that his invitation to the Warriors, who won the NBA title that year, was “withdrawn,” after the team’s two superstar players, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, announced that they would boycott the visit, according to a The Washington Post report.
Trump was asked on Thursday, during a White House meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whether he would extend an invitation to the Raptors to visit the White House. According to a CBC report, Trump said that he would “think about that.” But no invitation has yet been extended.
The club, on the other hand, appears far more likely to visit the Canadian parliament, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to the team’s coach Nick Nurse, as quoted by The Hill.
“You know, we’re here. Let’s go see Trudeau up in Ottawa. We’re Canada’s team,” Nurse said in a radio interview.
In fact, Trudeau has already invited the Raptors to Canada’s Parliament Hill for a celebratory visit, and Jim Watson, mayor of Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, took to Twitter to encourage the Raptors to “forget the White House” and visit the Canadian capital instead.