So Much Winning: The Warriors Sent a Message in D.C., On and Off the Court | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

So Much Winning: The Warriors Sent a Message in D.C., On and Off the Court

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Updated: January 25, 2019

After the Warriors beat the Lakers on Monday night to close out the NBA’s Martin Luther King Day slate, the team spent the night in Los Angeles. The team flew out of L.A. on Tuesday afternoon, giving the players a day off before their game against the Wizards in D.C.

Golden State practiced at the Wizards practice facility Wednesday afternoon, and, since they had a bit of extra time, allowed their players opportunities to work on other business and philanthropic endeavors. Kevin Durant, for example, used his time to open up his Durant Center in Suitland, Maryland, which is designed to give kids from Prince George’s County extra resources and support to better prepare them for college. And Stephen Curry attended a movie screening of “Emanuel” at Howard University—it’s a documentary that Curry produced about the mass shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Last year the Warriors celebrated their 2017 NBA Championship after the All-Star Break by taking a group of students from Kevin Durant’s hometown to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. While the gesture was symbolic, and the team definitely received a sense of fulfillment that they could not have gotten by rubbing elbows with Trump, one can only guess the kind of distraction that came from the media coverage surrounding the team’s open opposition to the White House (and its policies).

Before the team got to Washington, I was curious about what they had planned for this trip. So I reached out via email to the Warriors’ public relations director, Raymond Ridder, and inquired about any team plans to celebrate their championship in some unique way, as they had done the year before.

Ridder thanked me for my inquiry and insisted that the team did not have any celebratory team plans for D.C.

BUT WAIT!

Logan Murdock, a Warriors beat reporter for the Bay Area News Group, found this photo of the team meeting with President Barack Obama on the Instagram of a team security guard. He posted it on Twitter, inciting a political wave. As it turns out, that meeting was supposed to remain private and the team official ended up deleting the post . . . but as we all know, “once it hits the internet, it’s forever.”

Steph Curry was the one who set up the meeting with Obama, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, and even though the Warriors did not publicly want to be in the political spotlight this week, they are very much aware of the things that are going on in this country—from the government shutdown to the war of words between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Trump.

Steve Kerr is very encouraging of his players to speak out publicly, but has also made a point of emphasis that they be informed before firing off (hot-)takes:

“The thing we talk to our players about is if you’re going to speak, make sure you’re well versed on the subject. If there’s something you’re passionate about, learn about it and speak about it, absolutely. If you’re not well versed on it, it’s probably not a good thing to say anything about it. You’re going to back yourself into a corner.” Kerr said the Warriors talk about current issues occasionally.

The presidential election dominated one practice day.”Sometimes, we’ll show stuff on our film session that might be funny or poignant. It’s not a daily occurrence. But what’s going on in the world is something we do address as a team,” Kerr said. “I like that our players are vocal and thoughtful.”

Pelosi was in attendance at the Wizards game, and was in the hallway outside the Warriors locker room after they defeated Washington 126-118. She was excited to take a selfie with her favorite player, Steph Curry. Some of the Warriors players looked excited to see her, too, and offered her words of encouragement like “Great job,” and “We’re rooting for you,” and “Stay strong.”

On the court, Golden State was not distracted at all, as they won their ninth game in a row, taking full advantage of a Wizards team overplaying the 3-point line. The Dubs scored a season high 70 points in the paint.

For a team that could be categorized as the most political team in all of professional sports, the Warriors understand the nature of how news coverage works—and tried their very best to not become the story in D.C. Even so, Curry and Co. gave a message of discontent for the current sitting president and, at the end of the day, the world heard them loud and clear.

 

Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
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Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.