It’s time to Break It Down!
On the final day of last summer (September 22, 2017), the Golden State Warriors’ phenom Step Curry voiced his disinterest in taking the customary ceremonial visit to the White House, a time-honored tradition observed by many Championship sports teams in America. Curry is one among a host of luminaries who have consistently expressed their displeasure with President Trump, based on his policies and his rhetoric. During the team’s media day, Curry had the following to say:
“My views haven’t changed at all. I don’t know if anybody’s changed. But that’s where I stand right now. I don’t want to go. That’s my nucleus of my belief.”
A number of Curry’s teammates, and his coach, Steve Kerr, expressed similar sentiments. Kevin Durant said he would not go. So did David West. Draymond Green added:
“We’re going to have a discussion to pretty much take the temperature of everyone. We’re going to decide what is best, whatever we think is best for us.”
Curry further explained his reservations thusly:
“Basically the things he said and the things he hasn’t said at the right times, we won’t stand for it. By acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what’s accepted and what we turn a blind eye to.”
Steph noted the travails of Colin Kaepernick, whom Trump disparaged for kneeling during the National Anthem as a way to protest police brutality toward minorities. He also referenced Seahawks’ defensive end Michael Bennett, who said he experienced racial profiling following the Mayweather-McGregor fight, when he had a gun drawn on him.
He conceded not going to the White House is not the equivalent of a silver bullet, and will not instantly or miraculously make all things right with the world. But it is, he said, his opportunity to give voice to those kinds of concerns. Coach Kerr, General Manager Bob Myers, and Co-owner Joe Lacob agreed the decision deserved a proper forum and the right amount of thought. Myers revealed that though there had been a discussion with the White House, they had not granted a formal invitation. But that was soon a moot point.
As you know, Mr. Trump considers himself the King of clap back. So, shortly after hearing about what he considered Curry’s unimaginably injurious slight, he withdrew the invitation that, while implied due to custom, technically had not yet been extended. But I digress. As I find myself saying, far too often these days, and thinking more frequently than I say, this kind of tit-for-tat hijinks might actually be mildly amusing…were it not for the fact that they involve the Leader of the Free World as an integral player.
Fast-forward to Saturday (the next day), and Mr. Trump fired up his Twitter feed, and framed his retort, “officially,” rescinding an invitation that was never, in reality, tendered, with however many clicks of his keypad:
“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
One presumes this kind of hissy fit of a rejoinder renders Trump immensely satisfied, and his teeming mass of ardent supporters in a state of full-scale euphorically orgasmic relief. Again, if only this were a segment of a weekly comedy special, instead of acts characteristically endemic of the daily routine of the man wearing the title POTUS. Sad.
Be that as it may, that was then. Yesterday, the Warriors sojourned to the Nation’s Capital and spent the day reaching back to students. Kevin Durant has roots in the D.C. area. He grew up in Suitland, MD, outside of the District. The students selected for the visit attend his former elementary school in Pleasant Seat. Speaking of those youngsters, Durant said:
“Kids from my area don’t really get that opportunity to be in front of champions like that. So hopefully it will inspire them to just be whatever they want to be in life.”
To merge the visit, contextually, with the pending end of Black History Month, the team planned a visit with those students to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Durant was particularly excited about the opportunity to be a part of the team taking kids from his old “hood” to see the Museum, while facilitating their introduction to members of the Warriors team. Before the visit he opined:
“Hanging with the kids tomorrow is going to be pretty cool as well. Celebrate our Championship with the kids, especially in the neighborhood I grew up in. It’s going to be pretty amazing. I just want them to take it in. I want them to meet Steph and Klay. … Hopefully we set a good example. I know we set a good example every time we walk on the court and every time we walk around. It’s going to be cool to be up close and personal.”
It is worth noting that Steph and Klay actually did visit the White House earlier, when the Warriors won the NBA Title in 2015 and subsequently visited with President Obama in 2016. Durant was not with the team at that time, but, as with the majority of the players, coaches, management, and team ownership, he was on board with the collective team decision to ditch what would have been the 2018 Edition of the (2017) NBA Champions’ White House visit. The paramount reason and specific business purpose for the Warriors’ visit to the Nation’s Capital comes this evening when they play The Washington Wizards. Nevertheless, it’s a near certainty that yesterday’s visit to the NMAAH&C with students from Seat Pleasant, Maryland was critically important to the entire organization, and especially to their newest star and DMV homeboy, Kevin Durant. That’s why this post is entitled, “NBA Champs Skip White House: Take Students to Visit National Museum of African American History and Culture!”
I’m done; holla back!
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