Cleveland (AFP) – Cleveland star LeBron James and Golden State’s Stephen Curry said Tuesday the NBA Finals champions will not be visiting US President Donald Trump in the White House no matter whether the Cavaliers or Warriors win the crown.
A day after Trump revoked an invitation to the NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles to visit the White House amid reports fewer than 10 players would take part, the NBA’s elite closed ranks to condemn the president.
“It’s typical of him,” James said. “I’m not surprised. Typical of him.
“I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway. It won’t be Cleveland or Golden State going.”
When asked for his remarks later, Curry added: “I agree with ‘Bron.”
Team-mate Kevin Durant also concurred. “I’m sure whoever wins this series won’t be going,” Durant said.
Last September, Trump withdrew an invitation to the Warriors after they beat Cleveland in last year’s final following remarks from Curry saying he didn’t want to attend.
“You’ve got to do what’s in the best interest of your team,” Curry said. “It’s unfortunate but we all have to do what we have to do and the Eagles fall right into that.”
The Eagles no-go might signal an end to what has been a decades-old tradition, Warriors forward Draymond Green said.
“Maybe it’s just a tradition that needs to stop if everybody is going to be disinvited,” Green said.
The Warriors, who lead Cleveland 2-0 in the best-of-seven series entering game three Wednesday, would likely follow the lead of what they did last year when they went to Washington and spent the day with children instead of what would have been a White House trip.
“I hope to be in that situation,” Curry said. “The way we handled things last year, we’d stay consistent with that.”
– Normal in three years? –
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, a frequent critic of Trump, said teams look forward to returning to the White House under a new leader.
“It’s not surprising,” Kerr said. “The President has made it pretty clear he’s going to try and divide us all in the country for political gain. We’re all looking forward to the day when we can go back to just having a celebration and celebrate Americans for their achievement.
“It will be nice when we can just get back to normal, in three years.”
James also supported NFL players who choose to kneel during the pre-game playing of the US national anthem, an issue Trump has stirred for nine months.
“There are a lot of things we believe in as Americans we don’t believe he’s for,” James said. “A lot of people that believe he’s not for the people or doing things that’s right by the people.”
Kerr said it’s important to be clear upon the players reasons for kneeling.
“You have to understand that what players have protested is not the military,” Kerr said. “They’re protesting police brutality and racial inequality.”
Curry said he was not shocked to see how the White House appearance issue has escalated since last September.
“You can’t control what other people try and do to control the narrative,” Curry said.
James said people should not forget the championship season the Eagles had because of the situation with Trump.
“Let’s not have someone disinviting them from his house take away from that moment,” James said. “A championship is way bigger than getting invited to the White House, especially with him in there.”
– Laugh to stop from crying –
James also shook his head at the Women’s NBA champions not being invited last year.
“It’s laughable at this point,” James said. “You laugh to stop from crying.”
Trump tweeted the Eagles didn’t want to appear because he “insists they properly stand for the National Anthem” but no Eagles player ever took part in the anthem kneeling protest.
Trump, who has equated the protest with disrespect of flag and nation, said last September that any protesting “son of a bitch” should be fired and added recently “maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
When Curry snubbed Trump last September, he noted golfing with former President Barack Obama and said, “I’m pretty sure I won’t get a tee-time invite during this regime.”
James defended Curry after Trump blamed him for the disinvitation, tweeting: “U bum. @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up.”