NBA players generally were excited to visit Barack Obama’s White House after winning a championship — the first African-American president in a majority black league, plus he played himself. He was the Baller-in-Chief and it was an honor to get invited to his pick-up games (and a badge of honor).
Donald Trump… not so much.
When these Finals are over, some players re going to have to make a decision about whether they want to visit Trump’s White House. Politico spoke to Kobe Bryant — a guy with more than his share of White House visits — about what he missed about Obama, but they threw in a question about whether he would visit Trump after a title.
“I probably would go,” he said. “That visit is more than how you feel about the current administration. It’s about the guys next to you, about the flag, about the kids out there who look up to you and the United States. But, honestly, it’s a tough call.”
If (when?) the Warriors win, things will be interesting on the White House visit front. Coach Steve Kerr has been a consistent and vocal critic of Trump, particularly around the proposed travel ban (Kerr’s father was murdered by Islamic jihadi back in 1984 when the elder Kerr was the president of the American University of Beirut). Curry worked with Obama on projects and was critical of the head of Under Armor (who sponsors Curry) for being a very public Trump supporter. Also, the Warriors fan base is centered in San Francisco, pretty much ground zero for the Trump resistance movement — they would take heat for going.
With Cleveland, LeBron James campaigned for and endorsed Hillary Clinton. However, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert is a big Trump supporter.
The NBA itself has been part of things anti-Trump — the NBA’s core demographic is younger and more urban than other major sports, and that demo was not Trump’s core. Meaning the White House visit issue isn’t going away.