Donald Trump, Warriors agree White House visit is off
NBA champs were to decide as a team whether to attend White House celebration
The Golden State Warriors say they will not go to the White House when they visit Washington early next year, announcing the decision hours after President Donald Trump tweeted he was withdrawing the invitation.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!—@realDonaldTrump
Trump's comments in a series of Saturday tweets drew sharp responses from some of the nation's top athletes, with LeBron James calling the president a "bum."
U bum <a href="https://twitter.com/StephenCurry30">@StephenCurry30</a> already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!—@KingJames
Trump started by announcing that Curry, the immensely popular two-time MVP for the Golden State Warriors, would not be welcome at the White House for the commemorative visit traditionally made by championship teams after Curry indicated he didn't want to come.
That raised Trump's ire, with the president citing what he called Curry's hesitation to accept. The Warriors say they're "disappointed that we did not have an opportunity during this process to share our views or have open dialogue on issues impacting our communities that we felt would be important to raise."
The Warriors said it was made clear to them that they were not welcome at the White House.
Curry had said he did not want to go anyway, but the Warriors had not made a collective decision before Saturday — and had planned to discuss it in the morning before the president's tweet, to which coach Steve Kerr said : "Not surprised. He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him."
'These are not normal times'
The Warriors said that when they go to Washington this season they will instead "celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — the values that we embrace as an organization." General manager Bob Myers said he was surprised by the invitation being pulled.
"The White House visit should be something that is celebrated," Myers said. "So we want to go to Washington, D.C., and do something to commemorate kind of who we are as an organization, what we feel, what we represent and at the same time spend our energy on that. Instead of looking backward, we want to look forward."
Added Kerr after his team's first practice of the season, "These are not normal times."
Statement from the Golden State Warriors: <a href="https://t.co/6kk6ofdu9X">pic.twitter.com/6kk6ofdu9X</a>—@WarriorsPR
Curry appreciated James' strong stance.
"That's a pretty strong statement," Curry said. "I think it's bold, it's courageous for any guy to speak up, let alone a guy that has as much to lose as LeBron does and other notable figures in the league. We all have to kind of stand as one the best we can. For me, the questions how things have gone all summer if I wanted to go to the White House or not, I told you yesterday being very transparent what my vote would have been in a meeting had we had one, based on just trying to let people know I didn't want to be applauded for an accomplishment on the court when the guy that would be doing the patting on the back is somebody I don't think respects the majority of Americans in this country."
James also released a video Saturday, saying Trump has tried to divide the country. "He's now using sports as the platform to try to divide us," James said. "We all know how much sports brings us together. ... It's not something I can be quiet about."
"It’s not about dividing. We as American people need to come together even stronger.” — <a href="https://twitter.com/KingJames">@KingJames</a> responds to <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump">@realDonaldTrump</a>’s comments. <a href="https://t.co/UHpzXpb42K">pic.twitter.com/UHpzXpb42K</a>—@uninterrupted
With files from the Associated Press