The Golden State Warriors plan to meet as a team this fall to discuss whether they’ll celebrate their NBA championship at the White House, team and league officials told ESPN.
“We will meet as a team to discuss it and make a decision,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told ESPN.
The Warriors, who beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games to win the title, have not yet been invited to visit the White House, nor has the organization decided whether it would accept an invitation if it were offered, sources said. However, the NBA has stayed in close enough communication with the White House on the matter, and it is believed an invitation would be extended if the team decided as a group to attend.
The mechanism of inviting championship teams to the White House has varied with each administration, but it is generally offered by the president during a congratulatory call to a coach or owner soon after the NBA Finals. From there, the league office acts as a liaison with the White House to help schedule the visit. As yet, Kerr confirmed that no such invitation has been extended by the Trump administration.
Kerr and several Warriors players have been openly critical of President Donald Trump and his administration on multiple occasions.
Finals MVP Kevin Durant told ESPN’s Chris Haynes last month that he does not want to celebrate the team’s title at the White House with President Trump.
“Nah, I won’t do that,” Durant said. “I don’t 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,” said Durant, who said it wasn’t an organizational decision. “That’s just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they’ll all agree with me.”
Kerr said he has had several conversations with Durant, Stephen Curry and other team leaders about the situation throughout the summer, but he stressed that no decision would be made until the team could address it as a group.
“I’ve talked to a couple of them about it,” Kerr told ESPN. “There are a lot of different dynamics to this and different viewpoints. We’ve got players from all over the world and all over the country, and they’re going to have different perspectives, so I think it’s important for us all to get in a room and hash it out and decide what we want to do.
“The league isn’t going to tell us what to do. They know it’s our decision and that, for me, really, it’s the players’ decision.
“I will put my two cents in, but the players, they’re the ones who won the championship, they’re the ones who did all the work, and they’re the ones who will be very responsible for everything that we do. As a staff, we try to guide them on the floor. But in the end, to me, it’s all about the players. Everything we do is about the players.”
In June, one week after the Warriors won the title, Kerr said he would urge his players to consider going to the White House as a gesture of goodwill.
“I would want to make sure the players gave this really a lot of thought,” Kerr said at the time on “The TK Show” podcast. “And everybody knows I’ve been a very outspoken critic of [President Donald] Trump, and as a result, maybe we won’t even get the invitation. But I do think it’s very important to consider a potential invitation, because I think it could have really positive ramifications if we did go.”
Reigning NBA champions traditionally visit the White House on an off day during an East Coast trip, which for the Warriors would likely be at the end of February 2018.
There are several alternatives to visiting the White House during that trip. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, whose San Francisco district is close to the Warriors’ home base in Oakland, has invited the team to the Capitol. Several D.C.-based community-service organizations have reached out to the organization as well.
Since taking office in January, President Trump has hosted the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and members of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
A spokesperson for the White House did not comment when reached by ESPN.