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President Biden Welcomes NBA Champion Golden State Warriors to White House

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris welcomed the Golden State Warriors basketball team to the White House to honor their 2022 NBA championship on Tuesday, January 17.

Harris reflected on her memories as a Golden State Warriors fan and complimented the team for their dedication to the “principles of equity, equality, and justice” before Biden took the podium.

Both Harris and Biden took a moment to acknowledge the California community that has been impacted by extreme weather.

“Difficult moments like this remind us that we are one America, and folks, I know the team we’re honoring today understands what it takes to work together. Let me just say that the Golden State Warriors are always welcome in this White House,” Biden said.

In 2017 former President Donald Trump rescinded his invitation to the Golden State Warriors, citing Steph Curry’s hesitation to the “great honor.”

The Golden State Warriors responded in 2017 by saying they were disappointed that they did not have an opportunity to share their views or have an open dialogue.

Golden State Warriors player Steph Curry thanked Biden and Harris for their invitation to the White House and presented them with personalized Golden State Warriors jerseys. Credit: The White House via Storyful

Video transcript

[APPLAUSE]

KAMALA HARRIS: Good afternoon, everybody please have a seat. Good afternoon. Good afternoon. It's good to see everyone. It is so good to see everyone-- what a wonderful day in Washington, DC.

So while we are gathered here, I do want to take a moment to address the many Californians who have been impacted by the extreme weather that has hit the state. They and our very courageous first responders are in our thoughts and in our prayers. And I have been in constant contact with California state leaders, and the president will have more to say about our administration's response.

But they are very much, those Californians, in our mind. And now, I will talk about our beloved Warriors.

[CHEERING]

So as a very proud daughter of Oakland, California--

[CHEERING]

It gives me immense personal pride as the Vice President of the United States to say, Dub Nation is in the house.

[CHEERING]

My family and my Bay Area friends are among the many who are gathered here to congratulate our Golden State Warriors, the 2022 NBA champions.

[CHEERING]

So on a personal note, I have been a Warriors fan my entire life. And this team has been a constant source of joy and pride for me and for so many of us. Doug and I, the first Second Gentleman of the United States, together with our family who are here have watched this team on television and in-person.

I have a fond memory of a particular playoff game in Oakland at Oracle. So we were headed to the game, but stuck in stand-still traffic. And we were worried that we were going to miss the tipoff.

Now, I was Attorney General of California at the time, and to the dismay of my security detail, I decided to jump out the car and take BART instead.

[LAUGHTER]

And got on a jam-packed train with all the other fans. We got to the game on time. And, yes, the Warriors did win.

[APPLAUSE]

It was a glorious day. And I even caught my Lakers fan husband cheering them on.

[LAUGHTER]

Six years later, after President Biden and I were elected, the Warriors presented me with the jersey with the number 49 to commemorate my number as vice president. It still hangs next to our treadmill at home.

And as many of you may know, I work out every morning. So every morning, I look at that jersey-- a symbol of grit, determination, and teamwork. My pride in the Warriors today is not only because they win, but because these players, their coaches, and this entire organization consistently stand for the principles of equity, equality, and justice.

[APPLAUSE]

Which they do with great integrity and excellence. So for all of this, I congratulate our Warriors. And it is now my great honor to introduce two people who embody and live by these important principles. One of them is a two-time MVP and a four-time NBA champion. The other is the champion of our nation. You're welcome.

[LAUGHTER]

Please welcome Steph Curry and the President of the United States, Joe Biden.

[CHEERING]

["HAIL TO THE CHIEF" PLAYING]

JOE BIDEN: I'm tempted to say, as honored as I am to be here speaking, I'm not sure I wouldn't be more excited if I was standing back there. Kamala, thank you very much. It feels like a Warrior home game, and it's the toughest ticket in town. And this has been a tough ticket to get in town. Nancy Pelosi, where are you, Nance? Nancy.

[CHEERING]

Greatest Speaker in our history. And this is her home court right here. Folks, it's so wonderful to be here. Paul, good to see you, Paul.

[CHEERING]

There are several other members of the California delegation here who are also here along with several city and state leaders. But as Kamala said, we're all closely monitoring the storms, the floods, the landslides all across California. And our heart is with all of the families-- all the families in the communities that are hurting and all the brave and heroic first responders.

Working closely with Governor Newsom, I'm in constant contact with, and the entire delegation, I issued a disaster declaration to support recovery and to rebuild. And I'll be traveling to California on Thursday to assess the damage and see what additional support may be needed.

Difficult moments like this remind us that we are one America. We're one America. And, folks, I know the team we're honoring today understands what it takes to work together. Let me just say that the Golden State Warriors are always welcome in this White House. Always.

[CHEERING]

No more droughts. I mean in California. And congratulations to the team's owner, Peter and Joe. Congratulations to the staff, and coaches, and fans, and, most especially, to the incredible players standing behind me. Today, the Golden State Warriors are known as one of the most successful franchises in basketball and all of sports.

And four NBA titles, six Finals in the last eight seasons-- that ain't bad, man. That ain't bad. The stat line of a dynasty. But the last couple of years were pretty tough.

They struggled in 2020, missed the playoffs in '21, and critics wondered if this team was gone for good as a championship team. But, fellas, I know what it feels like.

[LAUGHTER]

I've been there. But my dad used to say, Joe, get up. Just get up and never give up. But you never gave up and you always believed. Coached by one of the greats, a man of courage and humility-- five rings as a player, four as a coach-- Steve Kerr.

[CHEERING]

By the way, he's run out of fingers. You all see the size of those rings? He had to walk a line like this.

[LAUGHTER]

Well, I tell you what-- and one of the best executives in sports, Bob Myers, who rebuilt--

[APPLAUSE]

And re-imagined the team around the big three-- Steph, Draymond, and Klay. You guys are incredible. I mean, you add up to 72 feet. You're amazing. I swear to God, you're incredible.

Worked like hell to come back after missing 2 and 1/2 seasons in injuries. You brought Andre and you signed another group of up and coming stars. In 2022, you showed what you're all about, heart and hustle, finishing near the top of the Western Conference at the end of the regular season, in the playoffs defeating Denver, Memphis, and Dallas, and in the Finals beating the Boston Celtics for the Warriors seventh title in franchise history. That's pretty [INAUDIBLE]

[APPLAUSE]

Steph, earning your first Finals MVP award-- Finals, that's not bad, man. How's it feel compared to all those other MVPs?

STEPH CURRY: The best one.

JOE BIDEN: The best one? All right. Well, I tell you what, it goes with his two regular season MVP awards, including the first unanimous MVP in NBA history.

[CHEERING]

It cemented his place in history among the best ever. You know, and they don't do it with the style of play that does anything other than reflect America-- constant motion, with individual freedom and personality that comes together as one team, a team that plays with joy, with drive to be their best, and reflects the vibrancy of the Bay and the culture of our country.

And no wonder-- it's no wonder why millions of people at home and around the world stop and watch you play. And that's true. Wherever they can tune in, they watch. You entertain and above all you do something that I don't even think you guys think about a lot-- you inspire.

You inspire unrelated to basketball. You just inspire. And let me close with this. On Sunday, it would have been Dr. King's 94th birthday. I believe I had the great honor of being the first sitting president to deliver a sermon at Sunday service at his cherished Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Fellas, we've been on some big stages, but that was something special and humbling for me. You could feel his spirit-- you literally could feel his spirit, at least I could, his moral vision of a beloved community where we move forward and we move forward together. It's exactly 60 years ago this month when President Kennedy hosted the Boston Celtics as the first NBA championship team to visit the White House.

A few months later in August, the Celtic legend, Bill Russell, returned to Washington, this time to stand at the Lincoln Memorial to hear Dr. King deliver his I Have a Dream speech. I know this is the first season without Mr. Russell since his passing last year, and we miss him. But we know that all of you carry forward the through-line of greatness and service that he and Dr. King represented.

It's fitting we continue this tradition to host the day after Dr. King's holiday. Look at what this team does-- speaking out against racism, standing up for equality-- I mean, speaking out loudly against racism, standing up for equality, encouraging people to vote, empowering children and their families to eat healthy, learn, and play in safe places, rallying the country against gun violence-- and, coach, I want to thank you again.

[APPLAUSE]

His dad was a great man, a Professor at Beirut University, and so much more. But he was a victim of gun violence. But it matters. We always believe that America can be summed up, I believe, in a single word-- I was asked by Xi Jinping on the Tibetan Plateau some years ago, he said, can you define America for me? This is God's truth, and I said, yes, in one word-- possibilities. Possibilities.

Each of you individually, and together as a team, proved that anything is possible if we do it together. There's nothing beyond the capacity of this country if we work together-- nothing. I really mean and believe that with my whole heart and soul.

Our national motto is E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. Well, you put the Dub Nation in that place. Strength in numbers. That's the Warrior spirit. That's also America.

And now it's my honor to introduce someone I really admire, not just as a player, but as a person. And we all know the stat line of championships and MVPs-- we see the highlight reels, one of the sharpest shooters to ever play the game.

But when you watch Steph Curry play, you can also see a man of character who puts in the work, who walks his faith, who loves his family, and brings people together as one of the great sportsmen of our time. And besides that, the only thing he and I really have in common, we both married way above our station.

[LAUGHTER]

Way above our station. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Steph Curry.

[APPLAUSE]

STEPH CURRY: Thank you for that, President Biden, Vice President Harris, the entire White House staff. Thank y'all for welcoming us here. The entire Warriors organization, every teammate I have, every coach, front office, executive staff-- everybody that's here celebrating with us. We are a team. We do it together.

And to be able to celebrate our championship together with you here, it means a lot to bring that trophy here. It means a lot. I think we were here seven years ago for our first championship. So to have another opportunity to be here means the world.

We had a connection, obviously, with your former boss, President Obama, with his Chicago ties, and watching Coach Kerr, and celebrating championships there. But there is a connection to you-- I know you grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania. And that's two hours away from Philly, which is where the Warriors organization began in 1946, we won our first championship. So '46 has a nice ring with--

[LAUGHTER]

With you as the 46th president. So that is a great connection there. And obviously, Vice President Harris representing Oakland, representing the Bay Area the way that we do every time we step foot on the court, what you've been able to here in DC, it means means the world.

So you are, I know, a huge fan. And you're loud with it too, and we love that. So we appreciate you. Keep doing-- no, that's good. We love that spirit, and we want to continue to make you proud with everything that we do.

And again, for us to be here to find the common synergies within what we do on the court and what we represent, and when it comes to providing hope, inspiration, belief to everybody that watches us play, that's what you do in your role leading our country.

And to continue to do exactly what you said, do things together, continue to preach that message, that's what we're all about and, obviously, in the pursuit of winning championships and doing amazing things. We brought some gifts for you. We have two jerseys, a number 46 and a number 49 that we would love to have you part of Dub Nation forever, and maybe find it maybe on the wall in the Oval Office.

[LAUGHTER]

We'll come back. Hopefully we'll be able to come back and check and see if it's up there. But I want to say again, thank you for letting us be here to celebrate. And for our families, our staff, everybody here on the stage, it means the world. And hopefully this isn't the last time. So thank you.

[CHEERING]

JOE BIDEN: All right.

KAMALA HARRIS: Number one fan. Aw.

JOE BIDEN: All right. Thank you. OK. Tell you what, [INAUDIBLE]