A number of NBA players, including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, have come to the defense of Warriors star Steph Curry after President Trump tweeted that he has disinvited Curry (and possibly the entire Warriors team) to the White House.
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
A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can't possibly "Make America Great Again"
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) September 23, 2017
Trump's tweet came a day after Curry said he was planning to decline a White House invitation after the Warriors won the 2017 NBA championship.
But on Saturday, former Phoenix Suns star and fellow former NBA MVP Charles Barkley expressed a somewhat different take. Rather than decline a White House invitation, Barkley suggested Curry and the Warriors should have used the invitation to open a dialogue with Trump.
"I think it's unfortunate. I think it's really unfortunate," Barkley said during an NBA TV interview Saturday. "I think that it's an honor and a privilege to go to the White House, no matter who the president is, and also I thought it would have been an opportunity for those guys to sit down and talk to the President about some of the issues and concerns they had."
If he had a chance to visit with Trump, Barkley said he would discuss the ongoing DACA controversy. But he said the Warriors could have used a White House visit to discuss the issue of police brutality against racial minorities -- an issue that spurred national anthem protests from Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players beginning last season.
"If I got a chance to sit with the President -- we're all concerned about police brutality. I'm concerned about DACA," he said. "They could've negotiated a sit-down (meeting) instead of just coming in and doing that informal stuff -- he stands there and you (give him a) jersey and everything," he said.
"But it's unfortunate, and it's just really sad, to be honest with you. When guys stop going to the White House when they don't like who the president is, I think that sets a bad precedent."
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 23, 2017
Later on Saturday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement that echoed Barkley's sentiment.
"I was in favor of the team visiting the White House and thought it was a rare opportunity for these players to share their views directly with the President. I am disappointed that that will not happen," Silver said. "More importantly, I am proud of our players for taking an active role in their communities and continuing to speak out on critically important issues."