'It's Not What Leaders Do': Curry Responds After Trump Disinvited Him to White House

In a tweet, President Donald Trump said he is withdrawing the White House invitiaton to NBA Champion Stephen Curry.

(Published Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017)

After President Donald Trump disinvited Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry to the White House on Twitter, Curry said the way the president "feels the need to target certain individuals" is "beneath our country" and "it's not what leaders do."

Trump made the announcement on Saturday from his golf club Bedminster, New Jersey. He said: "Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!"

The NBA team held a news conference, after it announced that the team will not be making its championship visit to the White House, where Curry said "we’re trying to bring everybody together and speak about love and happiness and equality."

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr told reporters that Trump has "made it really, really difficult" to to honor the championship visit to the White House.

He also said he has met former presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and he didn't agree with all their policies but "you set aside political differences."

The decision came after Trump said Saturday that Curry would not be invited to the White House.

Meanwhile, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. extended an invitation to the Warriors to visit the nation's capital late Saturday night. 

"Whether you're here to work, play, practice your First Amendment rights, or lose to our Wizards, we welcome all to visit ... if they do so peacefully and respectfully," Bowser said in a statement.

Curry, who has made clear before Trump's tweet that he's not interested in a traditional White House trip, told reporters Friday: "I don't want to go ... my beliefs stay the same."

Curry's teammate Draymond Green said "I think we’ve got way more problems in this country and the world ... than to worry about what Steph Curry said on media day."

James, who lost to Curry and the Warriors in the NBA finals, also weighed in on the controversy Saturday, writing on Twitter: "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!"

NBA star LeBron James, who lost to Curry and the Warriors in the NBA finals, weighed in hours after Trump sent his tweet Saturday, writing on Twitter: "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!"

It was not immediately clear whether Trump was rescinding the invitation for Curry or the entire team, but the Warriors released a statement Saturday afternoon that said the entire team would not go to the White House.

"While we intended to meet as a team at the first opportunity we had this morning to collaboratively discuss a potential visit to the White House, we accept that President Trump has made it clear that we are not invited," the statement read in part.

The team added: "In lieu of a visit to the White House, we have decided that we'll constructively use our trip to the nation's capital in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion—the values we embrace as an organization."

The tweet about Curry and the Warriors came one day after Trump told a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. Several NFL players, starting with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest police treatment of blacks and social injustice.

"That's a total disrespect of our heritage. That's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for," Trump said, encouraging owners to act.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired," Trump said to loud applause.

Trump followed this up on Saturday, tweeting: “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

Curry said Friday a decision to not visit the White House would only be a first step.

"By acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to," Curry said. "It's not just the act of not going. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The Players' Tribune in July he believes teams should visit the White House when invited, though also said he would not order anyone to make such a trip.

"I think that these institutions are bigger than any individual politician, any individual elected official," Silver said then. "And it concerns me that something like going to the White House after winning a championship, something that has been a great tradition, would become one that is partisan. I will say, though, even though I think that teams should make decisions as organizations, that I would also respect an individual player's decision not to go."

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Other NBA players and one of Curry's teammates also weighed in on Trump's comments.

Chris Paul, who plays for the Houston Rockets, wrote: "With everything that's going on in our country, why are YOU focused on who's kneeling and visiting the White House??? #StayInYoLane"

Even NBA great Magic Johnson responded to controversy by tweeting his support for the Warriors. "I support the NBA World Champion Golden State Warriors, their owners, players and fans," he wrote.

Ben Feuerherd, Kiki Intarasuwan and NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani contributed to this report.