Yesterday, Golden State Warriors forward and NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant told the press that he will not visit the White House to celebrate the Warriors’ championship with current U.S. President Donald Trump.
That visit, is a ritual for teams who come off of winning a championship the previous season.
“Nah, I won’t do that,” said Durant. “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.”
Durant is hardly the first athlete to skip a visit to the White House.
Recently, members of the New England Patriots like Martellus Bennett and even Tom Brady were noticeable missing in D.C.
In the past, NBA Hall of Famer and current Charlotte Hornets owner, Michael Jordan skipped the ritual in 1991 when George H.W. Bush was president. It’s been said that after the Chicago Bulls won their first championship, Jordan said: ‘F*** Bush I didn’t vote for him.’
“See that’s the part that MJ understood,” said Craig Hodges, Jordan’s former teamate in Chicago.
“You know, MJ is not publicly political but he can handle his affairs where he can make a political statement and when he didn’t come to the White House, it was a statement. But once again, there was no push back from any of his sponsors or any of that because he is who he is and he is the golden goose for a lot of marketers and endorsement companies. So it’s not a surprise that it didn’t come back. But I understood where he was coming from and that Bush wasn’t his homie but when Clinton was in office he hung out with Clinton and golfed with him so that let them know.”
When asked whether he could remember any other instances where Jordan took a political stance, Hodges cited the infamous time Jordan was asked who he was voting for in an election and Jordan told a reporter that ‘Republicans wear gym shoes too.’ “That shows your opinion,” said Hodges.
“You can do that because you control that mechanism that says: ‘no I am going to endorse or I am not going to endorse.’”
Hodges if you recall, was blackballed by the NBA after he handed a letter to former U.S. President George H.W. Bush during the Bulls’ championship visit to the White House. The contents of the letter, according to Hodges made President Bush aware of the mistreatment of poor people and people of color in the United States.
When asked about the Warriors’ stance on not going to the White House, Hodges was diplomatic.
“Well for me, I tell people it was one of the coolest days in my life man,” Craig Hodges told me on Scoop B Radio. “I have always looked at the place that the White House is and understanding the power that it holds. But also that it is a museum and I am a historian.”
Hodges was also firm, stating:
“When I look at what the Warriors have decided to do, I guess not to go and because of Trump, I am somewhat dismayed that you, I feel like every American should get a chance to go to the White House,because this is what you pay taxes for. You know, so you get a chance to see it and at the same time, I feel like it is a chance for you to go and air your grievances with the top man. So I think there is a couple ways to be handling and you know, everyone has to do it their own personal way, but I feel like it is not an opportunity for every citizen of this country to get to do it and as a champion, it is something special to do. But at the same time I can understand the political slam as far as not going.”
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