The NBA champion Golden State Warriors are due in D.C. on Feb. 28 to take on the Washington Wizards, and usually, the White House invites professional teams coming off championship seasons over for a photo op.
Well, sports media is abuzz this morning discussing Kevin Durant’s decision not to go if the team is invited.
“Nah, I won’t do that,” said the Maryland native and 2017 NBA Finals MVP. “I don’t respect who’s in office right now.”
Durant spoke to ESPN on Thursday as his hometown of Seat Pleasant celebrated Kevin Durant Day for all of his achievements on and off the court.”
Durant’s hometown is 11 miles from downtown Washington, D.C. Ever since he was a kid, he dreamed of taking the Larry O’Brien Trophy to the front steps of the White House.
But not under this president.
“I don’t agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued, saying it wasn’t an organizational decision. “That’s just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they’ll all agree with me.”
“I just wanted to sit back and analyze everything and gather my thoughts,” Durant continued. “I wanted to say something immediately, but I definitely want to be the voice of where I come from and people who have come from my neighborhood and deal with oppression.
“I’m representing a lot of people. As far as what’s going on in our country, for one, as an athlete, you have to commend Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, CP3 [Chris Paul] [and] Dwyane Wade for starting that conversation last year. Russell Westbrook also said something in his speech. A lot [of] guys with platforms have driven the conversation in a good direction. And what’s going on in Charlottesville, that was unfathomable.”
Durant believes the president has played a role in the escalation of racial tension in the United States and the public rise of white supremacists.
“He’s definitely driving it,” Durant said. “I feel ever since he’s got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided, and it’s not a coincidence. When Barack Obama was in office, things were looking up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first.
“So to see that and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top. Leadership trickles down to the rest of us. So, you know, if we have someone in office that doesn’t care about all people, then we won’t go anywhere as a country. In my opinion, until we get him out of here, we won’t see any progress.”
Durant said the onus is on everyone, but more so on people of stature, to take a stand.
“For us to move forward, we need more athletes and people of power and influence to come out and speak,” Durant said. “It’s great to see a lot of athletes coming together and trying to direct a positive path for a lot of kids and a lot of people in this country who look up to us.
“It’s huge for us. It’s huge for sports. It’s huge for the influence we have because we’re leaders at the end of the day. It feels good to see my brothers in the NBA and across sports speaking out.”
Below, coverage of Durant’s KD Day parade in Seat Pleasant on Thursday, courtesy of ABC 7:
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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