Lebron James said neither his Cleveland Cavaliers, nor the Golden State Warriors would accept an invitation to visit President Donald Trump’s White House should they win the NBA Championship, ESPN reports.
“I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants an invite anyway,” James said during a news conference. “It won’t be Cleveland or Golden State going.”
James’ comments came after Trump rescinded a White House invitation to the Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles. The White House reportedly canceled the event after Trump became “infuriated” when he learned only a small number of players planned to attend. However, he also took the opportunity to rehash his feud with NFL players over their protests against police brutality, criticizing the Eagles for kneeling during the National Anthem even though not a single player on the team did so last season.
“As long as he’s in office, then the communication and things like that are going to continue to happen,” James said of Trump. “It’s a lot of things that we believe in as Americans that we don’t feel that he’s for. There are a lot of people that believe that he’s not for the people or doing things that’s right by the people. So, it’s not surprising hearing the news today with the Eagles.”
James added that he hoped the controversy over the White House visit wouldn’t minimize the accomplishments of the Eagles, or any other team that wins a championship and declines to meet with Trump ” I think the championship – winning a Super Bowl or winning a Stanley Cup or winning a World Series or winning an NBA Championship or National Championship – is way bigger than getting invited to the White House, especially with him in there, in my opinion.”
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors echoed James’ comments, saying his team would not visit the White House if they won the NBA Championship (after winning last year, the team met with local kids in Washington D.C. instead of Trump). Curry also said he hoped that the real reasons behind the Eagles’ decision to not visit the White House would cut through the controversy.
“I know a guy from the Eagles, wide receiver who played on the Super Bowl-winning team last year, and he broke it down pretty verbatim of how his process went with his discussions with his teammates and how he wanted to keep the focus on what the conversation should be and not the anthem and not Trump’s policies and how he’s been overshadowing the NFL and all that type of stuff,” Curry said. “So, that’s refreshing that he’s educating people along the way. I think that’s important. If you focus on who is saying the right things, you shouldn’t get lost in the noise that’s going on right now.”
Curry earned a personal rebuke from Trump last year after the Warriors guard said he didn’t want to visit the White House. Trump then proclaimed on Twitter that he was withdrawing the invitation, prompting James to tweet out an instantly iconic retort, “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!