There is a longstanding tradition with sports teams that win a championship taking a trip to the White House for a visit with the President of the United States. But since Donald Trump took office no NBA team has chosen to make that trip.
Meaning LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were the last team to do so in 2016, when Barack Obama was completing his second term. But the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to change that this season.
The Lakers of course, hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2020, and with LeBron and others within the organization making their feelings on the current President clear, a visit while he’s still in office was effectively ruled out.
But with a change in power, the franchise wants to resume the tradition of the White House visit. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers are hopeful to visit the White House at some point after Inauguration Day:
The Los Angeles Lakers are looking forward to reconvening a post-championship tradition of visiting the White House at some point during the 2020-21 season after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Waiting to see if Biden’s schedule will be freed up for the lone occasion the Lakers travel to take on the Washington Wizards, and gathering information on what the White House COVID-19 protocols will look like are all determining factors, sources said.
The visit would take place during the Lakers’ road game with the Washington Wizards, but when that will come up on the schedule is currently unknown. The Lakers won’t take that trip during the first half of the season and the second half of the schedule has yet to be released.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, the Lakers were unable to celebrate their championship in some normal ways. There was no championship parade and the team is choosing to hold off on unveiling its championship banner until fans are permitted back in Staples Center.
With so much going on, a potential White House visit is something the Lakers franchise could enjoy as representing some normalcy.
Wesley Matthews, LeBron James emphasize continued push for equality
There has been a ton of turmoil throughout the country over the past few days and NBA players have refused to stay silent on it. Prior to rioters invading the Capitol, players were angry over the decision to not press charges on the police involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“It’s disheartening. Truly, it’s disheartening just for all the work that everybody put in,” Wesley Matthew said. “But this can’t deter those citizens who were trying to do right, were trying to fight for equality, were trying to fight for the right things.
“It can’t deter us, we can’t lose our heads, we can’t start rioting. We have to be calculated. We have to continue to keep our foot on the pedal, we have to continue to keep our foot on the gas.”
Meanwhile his teammate, LeBron James echoed his sentiments. “We’ve got to continue to stay strong, continue to believe in each other and continue to push for the greater good,” James added.
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