After the Golden State Warriors presented him with a “46” jersey at a White House ceremony honouring the team, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris lined up for a photo with the NBA champions, with the president taking a knee in the front row.
Then-President Donald Trump revoked the team’s invitation to the White House in 2017 after Warriors star Steph Curry criticised his attacks on Black athletes for their on-field protests against racism and police violence.
Rather than visit the Trump White House, the team toured the National Museum of African-American History and Culture with local Washington students. In remarks on 17 January, Mr Biden acknowledged the controversy, saying, “The Golden State Warriors are always welcomed in this White House.”
Tuesday’s ceremony was the team’s first trip to the White House since Barack Obama’s administration in 2016 following the team’s first of four championships in eight years under head coach Steve Kerr.
The president kneeling with the team was “very symbolic,” Mr Curry said, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
“I think it was an iconic moment in the sense of what that image means,” he added. “But the fact that he would do it there, I don’t know how he’d put words to it, but he’s just a humble server, man. That’s how you want anybody to approach the position that he’s in. … That picture is going to be one to keep.”
Draymond Green added that the team “obviously” wanted an opportunity to visit the White House after their historic streak but declined “for obvious reasons” under the previous administration.
“So I was very thankful and appreciative and also thought it was pretty funny, President Biden’s comments today,” he said.
“Look at what this team does,” Mr Biden told a crowd assembled in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday.
“Speaking out against racism. Standing up for equality. Encouraging people to vote. Empowering children and families to eat healthy and learn and play in safe places. Rallying the country against gun violence,” he added.
He commended Mr Curry as “one of the great sportsmen of our time” after leading the team to victory against the Boston Celtics last year in six-game series following a rough stretch for the team and championship victories in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Mr Biden said the Warriors “reflect America” with an on-court presence in “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.”