President Joe Biden welcomed the Golden State Warriors to the White House on Tuesday to celebrate their 2022 NBA championship, marking their return to the building for the first time since a high-profile clash with former President Donald Trump.
“Today, the Golden State Warriors are known as one of the most successful franchises in basketball and the entire sport. Four NBA titles, six playoffs in the last eight seasons. That’s not bad, man. A statline of a dynasty, but the last few years have been pretty tough,” Biden said in a note from the East Room. “They struggled in 2020, missed 21 playoffs and critics wonder if this team is gone for good as a championship team.”
“But, guys,” Biden added with a smile. “I know how it feels. I was there.”
It was a return to form for the Warriors after clashes with Trump.
The Warriors’ invitation to visit the White House to celebrate their 2017 championship was withdrawn by Trump after Steph Curry criticized him for his attacks on black athletes who were protesting during the national anthem. Instead of visiting the White House, the Warriors took local Washington students to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
In 2019, they opted to meet former President Barack Obama instead of stopping the traditional White House.
Biden appeared to nod to the controversy, saying, “The Golden State Warriors are always welcome in this White House,” to laughter from the room.
Comparing the situation in 2017 to Trump and Tuesday’s visit, Curry said, “I think President Biden mentioned it during his speech that you can achieve anything if you do it together.”
“And I think just obviously the vibe is different in the sense that people from different paths and backgrounds are accepted and actually walk that path,” he added.
In June 2022, the Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics 103-90 to capture their fourth NBA championship in the past eight seasons. The win gave the trio of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green their fourth joint title – all under head coach Steve Kerr – on top of their 2015, 2017 and 2018 championships.
At Tuesday’s ceremony, the President called Curry “someone I really admire. Not just as a player, but as a person.”
Noting the team’s activism, Biden said they would “stand against racism and stand up for equality.” I mean speaking out loud against racism, standing up for empowering people to vote, empowering children and their families to eat healthily, learn and play and find safe places, and rally the country against gun violence. ”
Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff were also present. Harris – who is from California – said she’s been a Warriors fan “all her life.”
Curry presented Biden and Harris with Golden State Warriors jerseys. Bidens had a number 46 on the back – marking his place in presidential history – while Harris had the number one emblazoned on the back.
Kerr told reporters at a news conference earlier Tuesday that they were grateful to the Biden administration for its efforts to curb gun violence and successfully bring WNBA star Brittney Griner home from a Russian prison.