Kevin Durant told ESPN’s Chris Haynes this week that he won’t visit the White House if the Golden State Warriors are invited to celebrate their victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals because he does not “respect who’s in office right now.”
“I don’t agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant said. “That’s just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they’ll all agree with me.”
As Haynes notes, Durant’s hometown is only 11 miles from downtown Washington, D.C. Even though he’s always dreamed of bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy to the White House, Durant talked about how his decision is much bigger than basketball. He also said that he wants to be the voice of “where I come from and people who have come from my neighborhood and deal with oppression.”
“I’m representing a lot of people,” Durant explained to ESPN. “As far as what’s going on in our country, for one, as an athlete, you have to commend Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, CP3 [and] Dwyane Wade for starting that conversation last year. Russell Westbrook also said something in his speech. A lot [of] guys with platforms have drove the conversation in a good direction. And what’s going on in Charlottesville, that was unfathomable.”
“For us to move forward, we need more athletes and people of power and influence to come out and speak,” Durant continued. “It’s great to see a lot of athletes coming together and trying to direct a positive path for a lot of kids and a lot of people in this country who look up to us.”
Durant isn’t the only member of the Warriors to speak out about Trump since he’s become the 45th president. Andre Iguodala, 2015 NBA Finals MVP, said “hell nah” when asked by USA Today‘s Sam Amick if he’d accept an invitation from the White House while Trump is in office. Others haven’t necessarily turned down a hypothetical invitation as explicitly as Durant and Iguodala have, but Steve Kerr, Stephen Curry and David West have all made their feelings on the matter very clear.