On November 10, the National Basketball Association’s 2016 champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, were due to visit the White House. Before they arrived, forward Richard Jefferson posted a prediction to Snapchat. He wrote, “Words cannot express the honor I feel being the last team to visit the White House tomorrow.”
Jefferson’s point, of course, was that no NBA team would do a photo op in the White House as long as the space was occupied by Donald Trump.
That prediction could become prophecy… but not quite yet. It was widely reported—following a single tweet from an unverified account—that the Golden State Warriors, amid the hoopla of winning the 2017 NBA Championship, had voted unanimously that they would not visit this White House.
The idea that this could have happened so quickly, before the champagne even dried on the locker-room floor, should have strained credulity. Yet the reports circulated with viral speed and were soon treated as fact by Newsweek, Vibe, The Independent, and many other news sources and journalists blessed with the blue check mark.
It moved so quickly from unsourced tweet to reality that House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi even issued an invitation to host the team in Washington, DC, if they did not want to go to the White House.
After the news made the rounds, the Warriors released the following statement: “Today is all about celebrating our championship. We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.”
It is understandable why so many news feeds thought that this story must be true. If any team would publicly and collectively decide not to make the White House visit, it would be these Warriors.
After January’s Trump inauguration, veteran forward David West, a reserve but one of the most respected people in the NBA, said:
All the tactics that [Trump] used to get elected are the very things that someone like me, who works with youth on a consistent basis, are the things that we try to talk our young folks out of being. We try to talk our young people out of being bullies. We try to talk our young men out of disrespecting women. We try to talk our young people into being accepting of other people’s opinions and other people’s walks of life.