LeBron James may have made his third and final trip to the White House on Thursday. Well, at least until the next Presidential election in four years.
James has been honored twice before at the White House after winning the NBA Championship with the Miami Heat. This is slightly different, however. LeBron’s teammate, Richard Jefferson, hinted that the Cleveland Cavaliers visit to the White House will be the last for an NBA team now that President-elect Donald Trump will be moving into the nation’s most famous address in January.
On the eve of the Cavs being honored by President Obama for winning the 2016 NBA title, Jefferson posted a not-so-subtle message on Snapchat on Wednesday night, saying: "Words cannot express the honor I feel being the last team to visit the White House tomorrow."
Coincidentally, before the President was scheduled to honor the Cavs, he was to meet with Trump at the White House regarding the transition of power. It was unlikely that the two most powerful men on the planet and the self-proclaimed Best Player on the Planet would all cross paths.
Although we can always root for that to happen.
NBA players and coaches, including Stan Van Gundy and Steve Kerr, expressed disappointment with Tuesday’s election results. Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who has played golf with Trump, admitted that "the election didn’t go the way I wanted it to go" but said Trump deserves a chance.
"I personally know Donald Trump," Rivers said. "I’ve golfed with him and I know him. I don’t think there’s anyone who runs for president that wants to do bad. I really don’t. So, you know, he won. My take on it: let’s give him a chance and see what he can do. That’s the only way anyway now. So, let’s go with that."
Richard Jefferson wins a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron campaigned with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton last weekend at a rally in Cleveland. Clinton not only lost the election but she failed to win Ohio.
After Clinton conceded, James posted a message on Instagram that read: "Parents and leaders of our children please let them know they can still change the world for the better! Don’t lose a bit of faith! They’re our future and we must remain stronger than ever!! Yes we all wanna lace up the boots, put on the hard hats and strike but that’s not the answer. Love, genuine LOVE and FAITH will be the only thing that can get us through this."
The Cavs wanted to visit the White House while the first African-American President was still in office. They planned the trip around Friday’s game against the Wizards in Washington, D.C.
It is not unprecedented for players to decline an invitation to meet with the President. Tom Brady and James Harrison took a pass after their respective teams won the Super Bowl. In 2011, Boston Bruins Stanley Cup winning goaltender Tim Thomas refused to accompany the team to meet with President Obama, saying "I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People"
Former Green Bay All-Pro tight end Mark Chmura boycotted the Packers trip to visit President Clinton in 1996 saying that "society puts athletes on a pedestal whether we want it or not. I would not want my kids to grow up to be like Dennis Rodman or Charles Barkley." Chmura was later arrested and eventually acquitted for sexually assaulting the 17-year-old babysitter of his children.