LOS ANGELES, United States- NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he hopes the champion Golden State Warriors would opt go to the White House if US President Donald Trump invites them.
In an interview posted on Friday on the Players Tribune website, Silver stressed that was his personal opinion, and he didn’t think the league should decide whether a title-winning team accepted such an invitation.
“Regardless of people’s personal, political views, I think that these institutions are bigger than any individual politician, any individual elected official,” Silver said during an interview with Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum.
The interview was conducted prior to the NBA Draft last month.
“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,” Silver said.
“I will say, though, even though I think that teams should make decisions as organizations, I would also respect an individual players’ decision not to go.”
The tradition of sports teams being feted at the White House is a long one.
The Warriors made a visit after winning the 2015 NBA title, while the Cleveland Cavaliers went to the White House last year after beating Golden State in seven games.
Both title runs came during the administration of former President Barack Obama.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr and several Warriors players are among the sports figures who have been critical of Trump.
Kerr told an interviewer in June that he wouldn’t accept a White House invitation from the polarizing president, but he has since said he’d reconsidered.
“I do think it is very important to consider a potential invitation because I think it could have really positive ramifications if we did go,” he told the San Jose Mercury News.
“I, like many of our players, am very offended by some of Trump’s words and actions. On the other hand, I do think there’s something to respecting the office, respecting our institutions, our government.”
In April, Trump welcomed the NFL’s New England Patriots to the White House to mark their latest Super Bowl title.
A handful of Patriots players stayed away citing political differences with Trump. Superstar quarterback Tom Brady — often called a friend by Trump — skipped the trip because of family commitments.