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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Column: Golden State Warriors making a mistake if they pass on White House visit

<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-20b28b07-aa35-e2b9-af1b-15e39a73489c"><span>The Golden State Warriors celebrate winning the NBA Finals on Monday following their 129-120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.</span></span></p>

The Golden State Warriors celebrate winning the NBA Finals on Monday following their 129-120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There are a lot of cool traditions that come with winning the NBA Finals.

There’s the postgame champagne shower in the locker room, the championship parade through city streets and the ring ceremony to kick off the following year’s season.

Hell, some teams even get to have their faces plastered across boxes of Wheaties.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Well, there is one more tradition I haven’t mentioned yet. One that the Golden State Warriors reportedly want no part of.

A trip to our nation’s capital. A good old visit with Donald Trump and his staff at the White House.

Now, before I go any further, I think it’s very important for me to note that I absolutely despise our current president. He’s an ignorant, egotistical, misogynistic, self-serving bigot, and it doesn’t take an avid follower of politics to come to such a conclusion.

But I’m going to put my feelings aside for this column because, regardless of everything that Trump stands for, the Warriors would be making a mistake if they skipped their trip to the White House.

In fact, I think they’d regret it 10 years from now.

Receiving an invitation to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is an exclusive honor most athletes will never experience in their lifetime. It’s restricted to the select few who were actually good enough to win at the highest level in their respective sports.

And while the Warriors might not agree with Trump’s political views, meeting the POTUS isn’t the only thing to be gained from traveling to our nation’s capital.

Just ask someone who made the trip numerous times over the course of his career: former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

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“That visit is more than how you feel about the current administration,” Bryant said to Politico. “It’s about the guys next to you, about the flag, about the kids out there who look up to you and the United States.”

Several teams have already ventured to the White House since Trump took office six months ago. The New England Patriots went on April 19 to celebrate their Super Bowl LI comeback over the Atlanta Falcons, and the Clemson University football team arrived on Monday to commemorate its last-second victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, who wrapped up the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, have made it very clear they intend to go as well, and the team’s owner and CEO are both staunch democrats.

And yes, players from both New England and Clemson did decide to skip the trip due to political differences with the commander in chief.

But for an entire team pass up on the opportunity? Do they really want to do that?

Guys like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala got to go two years ago, but what about Kevin Durant, David West, Patrick McCaw and JaVale McGee?

None of them have been before. Neither have Zaza Pachulia, Matt Barnes, or Damian Jones.

While the Warriors appear headed for many more championships down the road, nothing is guaranteed. Injuries can derail a team’s future. Other franchises will restock and reload their rosters.

It’s definitely possible this particular group at Golden State will never get another opportunity to go to Washington again.

While I hate Trump just as much as they do, it’s still a freaking trip to the White House, a place full of history and amazing moments in our country’s past.

They should think twice before declining such an offer. That’s my two cents about it.

Dylan Dixon is sports editor of the Alligator. His column appears frequently on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon.

The Golden State Warriors celebrate winning the NBA Finals on Monday following their 129-120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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