On Tuesday (Feb. 27), the Golden State Warriors visited Washington, D.C. but bypassed the White House. Instead the players took local students to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The reigning champions of the NBA used to gesture to celebrate last year’s Finals win as opposed to visiting president Donald Trump’s White House.
Warriors’ shooting guard Klay Thompson spoke about the team’s decision. “The White House is a great honor, but there are some other circumstances that we felt uncomfortable going,” Thompson stated as reported by Huffington Post.
On Monday (Feb. 26), Thompson told media the gesture was not wholly political though many of his teammates have expressed their disdain for Trump. “We’re not going to politicize anything. 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.”
White House visits are usually offered to sports teams who win championships. Since Trump’s election many winning teams have opted out of those celebratory visits. In 2015, after their first championship the Warriors met with President Obama.
After their visit to the NMAAHC, point guard Shaun Livingston shared a photo of the team surrounded by the students who attended with them. He captioned the image with an appropriate Nelson Mandela quote about the social power of sports on youth culture.
Sports have the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope, where there was once only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination. Sports is the game of lovers. ~ Nelson Mandela @nmaahc