WASHINGTON — The Golden State Warriors have been guests at the White House before, but never before have they been greeted by a fan as big as this.
“Dub Nation is in the house,” Vice President — and a native of Oakland — Kamala Harris proudly said Tuesday afternoon as she introduced the 2022 NBA champions during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
Harris added, “Personally, I’ve been a Warriors fan all my life and this team has been a constant source of joy and pride for me and for so many of us,” he addressed a crowd that included San Francisco included The Mayor of London Breed and US Representative Nancy Pelosi, who was accompanied by her husband Paul, as well as Bay Area rap legends E-40, Too $hort and Mistah FAB
President Joe Biden’s administration rolled out the red carpet for the reigning NBA champions, who spent about four hours at the White House on their first visit since 2016.
“The Golden State Warriors are always welcome in this White House,” Biden said Tuesday.
Warriors star Stephen Curry presented Biden, the nation’s 46th President, with a custom Warriors #46 jersey with his name on the back. Curry suggested Biden put it up in the Oval Office and said he’ll come back next year to review it.
Biden praised the Warriors for their performances.
“Four NBA titles and six finals in the last eight seasons,” he marveled. “That’s not bad, man.”
The president also called the team’s Big Three – Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson – “something incredible” and drew parallels between the heart and hustle of the Warriors and that of the country.
“Critics have wondered if this team is gone forever as a championship team,” Biden said. “And guys, I know how it feels. … But you never gave up and always believed in it.”
Biden also took time to acknowledge coach Steve Kerr not only for his leadership but also for his strong advocacy of gun control. This issue is particularly close to Kerr’s heart as his father was assassinated in 1984 at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.
“It was incredibly flattering to hear the President introduce me and talk about my father,” said Kerr, who attended a gun violence roundtable with White House officials along with Thompson and Moses Moody. “That’s one you write down and keep in family history. A very special moment.”
Speaking about her “beloved” Warriors, Harris recalled a time she was redirected to BART to make sure she wasn’t late for a playoff game in Oakland after getting stuck in traffic.
Curry presented her with another custom jersey – No. 1 because she’s a top fan. Harris previously received a #49 jersey from the team when he became the 49th vice president.
“I’m proud of the Warriors today, not because they’re winning,” Harris said, “but because these players, their coaches and this entire organization consistently stand for the principles of equity, equality and justice, which they do with great integrity and excellence . ”
Prior to the East Room ceremony, Curry and Kerr addressed the media in the White House Press Conference Room. Curry thanked the President for his work in bringing WNBA star Brittney Griner home from Russia, where she was imprisoned for 10 months.
“It’s a big part of our basketball family, and it means a lot to know that she’s here and safe at home with her family and doing all the behind-the-scenes work to make that a reality,” Curry said. “I just want to say thank you.”
Though this was the Warriors’ fourth title in eight years, this is only the second trip to the White House for the Golden State during the run and the first since 2016, when the 2015 title-winning team met with then-President Barack Obama.
The Warriors waived the honorary visit in 2017; President Donald Trump said he never intended to invite her after Curry said the team would not accept. When the Warriors made their annual trip to play the Wizards, they instead took a private tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
When Curry and the Warriors were back in the NBA Finals the following year, Trump again said he would not invite the NBA champions to the White House.
The only NFL team to attend a White House ceremony during Trump’s administration, the Patriots in 2017, skipped several players and only one basketball champion — men’s and women’s college hoops, WNBA or NBA — became a basketball champion Celebrated in the White House during the Trump era (Baylor women’s basketball in 2019).
“It’s absolutely amazing to be back after seven years,” Green said. “If you’ve done this before and haven’t had the opportunity, it sucks. As a kid from Saginaw, Michigan, all you dream of is seeing the White House, let alone having the opportunity to attend or be celebrated.”
Kerr said he was “hopeful” the Warriors could earn another trip to the White House, though they still have some glaring issues to resolve on the court. But the ever-superior Green did not hesitate to make a statement.
“It was a very nice visit,” Green said, before chuckling and adding, “And I’m looking forward to coming back next year.”