The day after President Donald Trump criticized NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem, he moved onto another target: the NBA.
In what has got to be an unprecendented move, Trump announced on Twitter Saturday morning he was no longer inviting the Golden State Warriors (or possibly just not inviting star Steph Curry) to attending an event celebrating their victory in the NBA finals.
“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team,” Trump tweeted. “Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
This did not go over well — particularly on the heels of Trump’s comments Friday night that players who kneel during the National Anthem and attempts to prevent concussions were “ruining the game” of football. The result was a barrage of tweets at Trump from some of basketball’s star players, and not just from the Warriors.
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
With everything that’s going on in our country, why are YOU focused on who’s kneeling and visiting the White House??? #StayInYoLane
— Chris Paul (@CP3) September 23, 2017
Still wondering how this guy is running our country….
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) September 23, 2017
Kobe Bryant even weighed in from retirement:
A #POTUS who’s name alone creates division and anger. Who’s words inspire dissension and hatred can’t possibly “Make America Great Again”
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) September 23, 2017
Typically, championship-winning teams — victors from the the Super Bowl, the NBA finals, the World Series, and Stanley Cup, plus NCAA champions in college sports — are invited to the White House for a photo opportunity during their off-season. These are usually pretty boring events: The president says something nice about the team, something nice about the city they represent, something cheeky (if the president is a fan of a rival team), and they all take a picture.
But with Trump in the White House, the decision of whether to go has suddenly become more fraught. (When the New England Patriots visited the White House in May, quarterback Tom Brady skipped the event.) Curry, as well as NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, made clear he has no desire to attend any such event at the White House.
Curry himself has been firm. As he told reporters Friday, by 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.”