Trump told reporters that neither of the teams in the NBA Finals, nor stars LeBron James or Stephen Curry, would be receiving an invite to the White House after this year’s champion is decided.
“I didn’t invite LeBron James, and I didn’t invite Steph Curry. We’re not going to invite either team,”Trump said to reporters.
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed disappointment at the president’s comments, saying on ESPN on Friday night, “it’s a bit of resignation that this is where we find ourselves.”
“Championship teams, not just in our sport, but in other sports aren’t getting to celebrate in that way, something that has historically been apolitical in Washington, but I have to put it in the greater context of where we find our country,” Silver continued. “I would say though ultimately it saddens me because historically we’ve been able to use the NBA and all of sports to bring people together.”
Trump said Friday that the Washington Capitals, who clinched the Stanley Cup on Thursday night, are likely to be invited.
“I think we’ll have the Caps. We’ll see. You know, my attitude is if they want to be here, the greatest place on Earth, I’m here. If they don’t want to be here, I don’t want them,” Trump said.
Earlier this week, members of both NBA teams — and especially James — ripped Trump over his decision to disinvite the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles and made it clear the eventual NBA champion wouldn’t be going to the White House, either.
Speaking with the media on an off day Tuesday, members of the Cavaliers and Warriors sounded off on the situation between the NFL champs and the president, and leading the charge was James.
“It’s typical of him,” James said of Trump. “I’m not surprised. … I know no matter who wins this series no one wants the invite, anyways. It won’t be Golden State or Cleveland going (to the White House).
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“It’s not surprising, hearing the news today with the Eagles,” James continued. “But I think more importantly we shouldn’t, as Americans and especially the people in Philadelphia, shouldn’t let that news take away from what that unbelievable team did and accomplished.
“Winning a Super Bowl or winning a Stanley Cup or winning a World Series or winning an NBA championship or a national championship is way bigger than getting invited to the White House,” James added, “especially with him in there, in my opinion.”
Curry agreed with James, alluding to what his team did last season after winning the NBA title. Warriors players indicated after winning the championship in 2017 that they would not go to the White House, then as they were set to meet as a team to formally decide, Trump rescinded the invitation.
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“I’m pretty sure the way we handled things last year, (we will) kinda stay consistent with that,” Curry said Tuesday when asked whether the Warriors would skip the visit should they win this time.
Trump set off a firestorm Monday when he announced there would be no customary White House visit for the Super Bowl champions, alluding to NFL players kneeling for the national anthem and the ensuing controversy last season.
Numerous people responded to Trump, including Eagles players, noting among other things that few players were going to attend, anyway, and that no Eagles player kneeled during the playing of the national anthem last season.