OAKLAND – For the rest of the NBA, media day will be about the Xs and Os. But for the Golden State Warriors, who have won two of the league’s last three championships and are the heavy favorites to win it all again this season, it’s the question of whether or not they’ll celebrate their latest title at the White House that remains front and center.
Despite so many strong signs that the widespread distaste for President Trump would likely lead to them not taking part in the annual ritual, the team will meet to make a decision in the coming days. General manager Bob Myers made it clear that the team has had communication with the White House, and the door was left open for a possible visit.
But Warriors coach Steve Kerr and two-time MVP Steph Curry, the two men with more influence on the team’s culture than all the rest, reiterated their belief that they prefer not to attend. And make no mistake: Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville riot in mid-August is still fresh on the minds of the Warriors who see it the same way as Curry and Kerr.
“I don’t want to go,” Curry reiterated. “That’s kind of the nucleus of my belief…(But) it’s not just me going to the White House. If it was, this would be a pretty short conversation.”
When asked why he wants to skip the visit and what the intended message would be, Curry elaborated.
“That we don’t stand for basically what our President has – the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times, that we won’t stand for it,” Curry said. “And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to. It’s not just the act of not going there. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion.
“(Athletes are) all trying to do what we can. We’re using our platorms, using our opportunities to shed light on that, so that’s kind of where I stand on it. I don’t think us not going to the White House is going to miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that.”
Still, as Myers indicated, the Warriors want to come to a collective conclusion.
“We’ve had discussions with the White House; no decision has been reached on our side, and the plan is to meet with the team, ownership, (owner) Joe Lacob, myself, (coach) Steve (Kerr) will certainly be involved, and have a real honest dialogue about it,” Myers said. “From our opinion, my opinion, it deserves a proper forum. It deserves the right amount of thought, and so when we make the decision, we at least put in the right amount of time to make it. And that’s the next goal for us…We’re going to get in a room, and I think – with our coach, especially, and the relationship that we have with our players and front office and ownership – I think we’ll get some honest discourse in there. That’s what we want.”
Trump responded to the comments Saturday morning via twitter.
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
Warriors forward Draymond Green didn’t share his vote, but indicated that they would all respect the decision making process.
“We’re going to have a discussion, pretty much kind of take the temperature of everyone, and we’re going to decide whatever is best, whatever we think is best for us,” he said. “But it may not be the popular thing to do, the most popular thing – whatever we decide. But at the end of the day, we are the ones who have to attend, if we decide to attend. I think it’s only right that we all decide together.”
Zaza Pachulia added some levity to the discussion, saying that he visited the president of Georgia in his native country’s version of the White House just in case the Warriors don’t make the trip.
“I went to the White House (in Georgia),” he said. “I saw the president. It was great. Just in case, so no matter what happened I still did it.”