SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James knows there’s one thing that is certain, no matter who wins this year’s NBA title.
There will be no White House visit for the champions.
President Donald Trump abruptly canceled his Tuesday ceremony celebrating the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl victory after many players declined to show up.
The White House accused the players of abandoning their fans, and Trump quickly scheduled a “Celebration of America” with military bands as he stoked fresh controversy over players who protest racial injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem.
Trump’s action was the talk of the NBA Finals off-day on Tuesday.
“It’s typical of him,” James said. “I’m not surprised…I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants to invite anybody. It won’t be Golden State or Cleveland going.”
“Listen we have a lot of freedom in our country. Males or females have the right to do what they want to do,” he continued. “If they (the Eagles players) decided they didn’t want to go, they have the right.”
After last year’s NBA title victory, Trump withdrew an invitation to the Warriors after star Steph Curry said he was considering not going. At the time, James took to social media to support Curry.
“I think as long as he is in office, the communication and things like that are going to continue to happen,” James said. “There is a lot of things we believe in as Americans that we don’t feel that he is for. There is a lot of people who believe that he’s not for the people or doing things that are right by the people so it’s not surprising hearing the news today with the Eagles.”
When asked about the WNBA Minnesota Lynx not even being offered an invitation for a White House visit after they won their title, James said it didn’t surprise him.
“I think it’s laughable at this point,” he said. “You always hear the saying — ‘You laugh to stop you from crying'”
When asked about the Eagles, Curry said any team that wins a championship will be faced with the decision of whether or not they will travel to the White House.
“Any team that wins the championship is going to be in a decision-making situation where you have to do what is in the best interest of your team,” he said.
“It’s not surprising,” Curry added. “It’s unfortunate, but we all have our right to do what we want to do and Eagles fell in line with that.”
Like LeBron, Curry does not expect Trump to invite this year’s champs to the White House.
“I agree with ‘bron,” Curry said. “I’m pretty sure the way we handled things last year we’d stay consistent with that (choosing not to go if invited)”
Kevin Durant agreed with both Curry and James.
“When someone says they don’t want to come to the White House, he disinvites them so the photo op doesn’t look bad,” he said. “We get it at this point, but it’s good that guys are sticking to what they believe in…I’m sure whoever wins this series will not be going.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been an outspoken critic of Trump. He also wasn’t surprised.
“The President has made it pretty clear, he’s going to try and divide us in this country for political gain,” Kerr said. “It’s just the way it. We all look for to the day we can go back to just having a celebration of athletic achievement and celebrate Americans for their achievements and good deeds.”
“The irony is the Eagles have been nothing but fantastic citizens in their own communities. They have done so much good.”