After President Donald Trump’s Saturday tweet disinviting NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors from visiting the White House, NBA star LeBron James retaliated with a tweet of his own calling the president a “bum.”
James jumped to his Twitter account on Saturday morning to slam the president, saying, “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!”
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!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
James’ claim does not stand on a firm historical footing, however. Players have been refusing White House visits for many decades before Donald Trump’s first year in office.
James’ tweet came on the heels of Trump’s tweet disinviting the Warriors from celebrating their NBA championship with a White House visit.
“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team,” Trump tweeted earlier that morning. “Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
The president posted his tweet after hosting a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, for U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange, where he accused NFL players who protest during the playing of the national anthem of being unpatriotic.
Before a wildly cheering crowd, Trump called such players “sons of b**ches” and said he hoped that NFL owners would fire them for protesting.
As to the Golden State Warriors’ Curry, he has repeatedly said he would not accompany his team if it accepted an invitation to visit the Trump White House.
But refusing to visit the White House over political differences is nothing new. Players of various professional leagues also refused to visit the George W. Bush and the Barack Obama White House.
NFL player Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens took a pass on a White House visit when Barack Obama sat in the oval office because Birk is a Catholic and Obama was a famously anti-Catholic president. NHL player Tim Thomas also skipped a meeting with Obama, but in Thomas’s case, it was over Obama’s headlong drive to enlarge the scope and power of the federal government.
Several players also refused invitations to go to Washington during the George W. Bush administration. Baseball’s Manny Ramirez and football’s James Harrison both refused invites because they disagreed with Bush’s politics.
Players also ditched meetings with Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.
So, LeBron James is wrong. Players have been refusing to meet presidents since long before Donald Trump came to Washington.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.