With Trump inside, NBA stars rule out White House visit
Washington: National Basketball Association (NBA) star LeBron James said neither his team nor the opponents would meet with US President Donald Trump after winning the ongoing NBA Finals.
The comments came after Trump created a controversy by cancelling a White House visit for the National Football League (NFL) champion Philadelphia Eagles over standing for the national anthem at the NFL games.
"I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway. It won't be Golden State or Cleveland going," said James, who was critical of Trump last year after the President cancelled the visit of Warriors, the NBA 2017 champions.
"It's typical of him... As long as he is on office, things like this will continue to happen," James said, Efe reported.
"It's a lot of things that we believe in as Americans that we don't feel that he's for," he added.
He said that winning the Super Bowl - the NFL's championship game - or other sports titles was more important than a White House invite, especially with Trump there, and the cancellation did not take anything away from the players' hard work.
Warriors' star playmaker Stephen Curry, who was personally targeted by Trump last year while withdrawing the invite for his team, said on Tuesday that he agreed with James.
"I decided to speak out on me not wanting to go to the White House last year. Every team which has won a championship since then has gone through that," Curry said.
His teammate Kevin Durant echoed Curry's and James' sentiments.
"What else do you expect Trump to do? When somebody says they don't want to come to the White House, he disinvites them, so the photo op doesn't look bad," last year's Finals MVP said.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, a vocal opponent of Trump and his administration, said he did not have a problem if one of his players decided to protest when the national anthem is played.
He disagreed that the protest by several NFL players disrespected the military, as claimed by their detractors, but was a stand against social injustice.
The NFL has changed its policy this offseason, banning players from kneeling during the playing of the anthem, but allowing them to stay in the locker room during the pre-game ceremonies.
Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will be played on Wednesday at the Quicken Loans Arena.