LeBron James, Stephen Curry Say Cavs, Warriors Won't Accept WH Invitation

CBS News, News 9

NBA stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry came out in defense of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday after President Trump rescinded an invitation to the White House. The president called off a visit by the Eagles after what he said was a disagreement on standing during the national anthem, despite the fact that no Eagles kneeled during the anthem last season.

James, whose Cleveland Cavaliers are trailing the Golden State Warriors 2-0 in the NBA Finals, said neither team would be interested in attending if they win a championship this year -- or as long as Mr. Trump is in office.

"It's typical of him, I'm not surprised," he said at press conference in Cleveland ahead of Wednesday's Game 3. "I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway. It won't be Golden State or Cleveland going."

"Let's not let someone uninviting you to their house take away from that moment, because I think the championship ... is way bigger than being invited to the White House, especially with him in there, in my opinion," he said.

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry echoed James' remarks.

"I agree with 'Bron," he said. "Pretty sure the way we handled things last year, we'd stay consistent with that. At the end of the day, every team has an opportunity to make for themselves and speak for themselves -- and that's powerful being in that situation."

Last year, Curry and his teammates decided not to go the White House to celebrate their victory in the Finals -- before Mr. Trump disinvited them. James had a noteworthy response, calling the president a "bum" on Twitter.

"U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!" James tweeted.

As for the Eagles, several players discussed skipping the White House ceremony before and after the Super Bowl in February. A source close to the players told CBS News that fewer than 10 players committed to attending the White House event.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed the controversy on Tuesday when a reporter brought up the fact that none of the Eagles took a knee during the anthem in the 2017-2018 season.

"There were 80 members of the Eagles organization that RSVP'd and committed to attend this event as recently as Friday as well as over a thousand fans of the Eagles organization," Sanders said at the daily press briefing. "And the Eagles are the ones that tried to change their commitment at the 11th hour. And the president frankly thinks that the fans deserve better than that."

Sanders then claimed the Eagles were pulling a "political stunt" when asked if the dispute was more about the national anthem.

"If this wasn't a political stunt by the Eagles franchise, then they wouldn't have planned to attend the event and backed out at the last minute," she said. "If it wasn't a political stunt, they wouldn't have attempted to reschedule the visit when they knew that the president was going to be overseas."