“I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing.”
Stephen Curry, owner Joe Lacob, and the Golden State Warriors point to their 2017 NBA Championship banner before an October 2017 game. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.
In lieu of a visit to the White House, the Golden State Warriors spent a chunk of Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, touring the National Museum of African-American History and Culture with a throng of local kids.
The outing was made possible because the Warriors had a hole in their schedule, partly by their own choosing. The odds are that they wouldn’t have participated in the traditional White House photo op anyway, but Golden State Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry made it perfectly clear months earlier why he didn’t want to shlep to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“We don’t stand for basically what our president has — the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times, that we won’t stand for it,” Curry told USA Today in September 2017. “And 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.”
During some “executive time,” an early morning period of the workday in which the president is allowed to watch and live-tweet his favorite television shows, Trump had caught a segment on “Fox and Friends” — long a preferred viewing choice — devoted to Curry and had unleashed his anger online. At that point, the Warriors had not yet received a formal invitation from either Trump or the White House, but Trump rescinded the nonexistent offer to hang out via his preferred mode of id-unpacking, Twitter:
Before a game against the New York Knicks on Feb. 26, Klay Thompson, unlike many of his teammates and head coach Steve Kerr, kept his criticism muted, calling a visit to the White House a “great honor.” Unfortunately, “other circumstances” made the team “uncomfortable,” according to Thompson, who declined to specify exactly what those circumstances might be.
“We’re not going to politicize anything,” Thompson said — which wasn’t really possible at that point, even if the Warriors did decide to skip a proposed grip-and-grin offered by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats. Instead, the team settled on a more productive use of their afternoon in the nation’s capital. “We’re going to hang out with some kids and take them to the African-American Museum and hopefully teach them some things we learned along the way,” Thompson explained.
The kids were students from the Seat Pleasant Activity Center, a recreation and educational facility in Maryland that counts Kevin Durant as a former attendee, and College Track, a nonprofit organization that helps kids prepare for and get into colleges and universities. (Durant also recently donated $10 million to College Track.)
“Getting to hang around with the best team in the NBA, the world champions, we never got that opportunity at that age,” Durant told the Washington Post. “To be able to provide them that type of experience, it’s going to do a lot for those kids. They’re going to remember this for the rest of their lives.”
Durant previously visited the museum and was struck by exhibits devoted to slavery, Emmitt Till, and the death and starvation incurred by slaves during the Middle Passage.
“There was so much that you hear and I learned in elementary school and through school, but just some of the photos … my mom, my parents, they wouldn’t let me see as a kid,” Durant said. “Some of the stuff you probably had to wait until you were older to see. It was good to get that history.”
Per ESPN, the players collectively decided how to spend their Trump-free afternoon:
“It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," Kerr told ESPN. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing.”
Though the press was barred from tagging along, Curry kept his phone rolling. Here’s a short bit of video from him detailing what looks like a pretty fun afternoon and probably one a lot more enjoyable than serving as a bit of propaganda for a president almost no one on the roster seems to like very much.
Steph Curry, via Instagram, gave an extended peek into the Warriors' tour of the African American museum today in D… https://t.co/7v8gBD8PtY— Anthony Slater (@Anthony Slater) 1519778291