Stephen Curry, on a ‘Surreal’ Day, Confronts a Presidential Snub


As a player and as a coach, Kerr has visited the White House on several occasions. And despite his well-publicized criticism of the current administration, Kerr said in June that he was open to the idea of the Warriors’ visiting the White House as something of a unifying gesture.

“I think we would, in normal times, easily be able to set aside political views, and go visit and have a great time,” Kerr said Saturday. “But these are not ordinary times. Probably the most divisive times in my life, I guess, since Vietnam, when I was just a kid.”

He added, “The president made it really, really difficult for us to honor that institution.”

On Friday, at the team’s annual media day ahead of the start of training camp, Curry said that the Warriors had not decided as a team whether they would visit the White House and that they planned to talk about it at a meeting. But Curry said that if it were up to him, he would not go. That seemed to be the consensus among the players.

On Saturday morning, Trump made the Warriors’ decision for them when he tweeted that the invitation had been “withdrawn” because Curry was “hesitating.”

As Kerr put it, “He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him.”

Kerr said he learned of Trump’s tweet when his wife tapped him on the shoulder in bed.

“I was half-asleep,” Kerr recalled, “and she said: ‘There it is. There it is.’”

Photo

Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr speaking to the news media on Friday. A day later, President Trump tweeted that the Warriors, the N.B.A. champions, would not be invited to the White House. Kerr, who has been critical of the president, replied, “He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him.”

Credit
Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Members of the Warriors organization — including executives in the front office — have used their huge platform to speak out about social causes in recent seasons, including gay rights and racial inequality. General Manager Bob Myers said that would continue to be the case.

“We encourage our players to speak their minds,” he said.

For his part, Curry said that he had never set out to become a political figure — and that he was surprised that the president had singled him out.

At the same time, Curry said he felt emboldened by the support he had received from friends and fellow athletes, many of whom were vocal on social media.

“We’re not trying to divide and separate this country,” Curry said. “We’re trying to bring everyone together and speak about love and togetherness and equality.”

At one point during his news conference, Curry sounded almost nostalgic.

“I’ve played golf with President Obama,” Curry said. “I’m pretty sure I won’t get a tee-time invite during this regime.”

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