How NBA teams, coaches and players have responded to Donald Trump's comments

President Trump's comments about NFL protests and his tweet regarding the Warriors' White House visit have been the talk of the sports world recently.

First he suggested that NFL owners should fire players who protest the national anthem.

He followed that up by rescinding the NBA champion Warriors' White House invitation via Twitter.

On Sunday, NFL teams responded by launching various forms of protest, and on Monday several NBA players and coaches voiced their opinions about Trump's comments.

Below is a collection of what has been said so far.

Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James:

"The thing that frustrated me and pissed me off is the fact that he used a sports platform to try and divide us. In sports, it's so amazing what sports can do for everyone no matter what shape or size or race or ethnicity or whatever. People find teams, people find players, people find others because of sport and they just gravitate toward that and it makes them so happy and it brings people together like none other. I'm not going to – while I have this platform – to let one individual no matter the power, no matter the impact that he should or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us.

"And then you go to the other side and you don't talk about sports, and they try to divide us from that side as well, and the one thing that I can say and just think about is how can we personally, throughout everything that that guy is doing, no matter if you voted for him or not. You may have made a mistake, and that's OK. If you voted for him, it's OK. … Can we sit up here and say that I'm trying to make a difference, and can we sit up here and say I can look at myself in the mirror and say I want the best for the American people, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter how tall or athletic you are, whatever the case may be? Can we sit up here and say we are trying to make a difference?

"I salute the NFL, the players, the coaches, the owners and the fans. … It was unbelievable. There was solidarity. There was no divide, no divide even from that guy that continues to try to divide us as people.

"He doesn't understand how many kids — no matter their race — look up to the President of the United States for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement. He doesn't understand that, and that's what makes me more sick than anything. This is the No. 1 position in the world. … We're at a time where the most powerful position in the world has an opportunity to bring us together as people. He can inspire youth and put the youth at ease … and he has no recollection of that and he doesn't even care."

Charlotte Hornets

Dwight Howard:

"We've got an opportunity to put all of our egos aside -- color, whatever it is, division aside -- and really just focus on love. I think the only time we come together is when disaster happens, if somebody dies or there's a big event. I think we should change that to where we show each other love every day. I think we should change how we promote stuff on TV. A lot of times when people look at TV they see something that's negative. There's nothing positive that they see out of TV. And because of that, everybody's mind is so focused on the negative stuff. That's all that they see. That's all that they think about.

"As athletes we see it every day. Once we get on our social media or anything like that, it's negativity. We've just got to find a way to change that, and it's just about showing love. It's not about showing love to the people who love us only. It's about showing love to everybody, even the people that hate us."

Denver Nuggets

Wilson Chandler, courtesy of CBS' Matt Moore

"Me personally, I try not to give my energy to (Trump) because I don't really expect him to say anything that's not crazy anyway. Everything he says is crazy. I honestly don't pay that much attention to politics. Whatever he says or does doesn't affect me directly. The problems we have as a black community and as a community in America is bigger than Trump, have been a problem before Trump."

Detroit Pistons

Tom Gores:

"America's most treasured values include equality and diversity, and the right to effect change through peaceful expression and thoughtful debate. Our players care deeply about our community, and they demonstrate that every day. We support their right to raise awareness in a manner they believe is both thoughtful and impactful. We hope that any response to it will be equally thoughtful."

Stan Van Gundy:

"While it is unfortunate that our current president has made our national anthem a divisive issue, the positive is that people are now talking about some very important problems.

"There are serious issues of inequality and injustice in this country. People of conscience are compelled to oppose racism, sexism and intolerance of people of different sexual identities and orientation wherever and whenever they see it. I stand with those opposing such bigotry. I as an individual and the Detroit Pistons as an organization support diversity, inclusion and equality. I was proud of the statement that our owner Tom Gores released this morning. 

"I applaud the professional athletes using their platform to voice their opinions. I encourage our players to be engaged, involved citizens. Peaceful protest is a hallmark of our democracy and has been an impetus for social change throughout our history. While people can differ on the issues no one should seek to discourage freedom of speech. The athletes involved in these protests should be respected for exercising their rights of free speech in an appropriate and non-violent manner." 

Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry:

"It's surreal, to be honest. I don't know why he feels the need to target certain individuals, rather than others. I have an idea of why, but it's kind of beneath a leader of a country to go that route. That's not what leaders do."

Steve Kerr:

(see his full comments from Sports Illustrated here)

The fact is we live in an amazing country, but it's a flawed one. I consider myself unbelievably lucky to live here, so please spare me the 'If you don't like it you can get out' argument. I love living here. I love my country. I just think it's important to recognize that we as a nation are far from perfect, and it's our responsibility to try to make it better. And one of the ways to do that is to promote awareness and understanding and acceptance. Not just acceptance but embracing our diversity, which when you get down to it is not only who we are but truly what makes us great. And it's not happening.

Remember, the president works for us, not vice versa. We elected him. He doesn't just work for his constituents and his base. He works for every citizen. Once you take that office, you have to do what's best for the entire country. Sure, you're going to have policies that align with your party, but that's not the point. Respectfully, Mr. Trump, the point is this: You're the president. You represent all of us. Don't divide us.

Bring us together.

Houston Rockets

Chris Paul:

"Different people choose different ways to express themselves, however that may be. Whatever that is, when you have kids and you're supposed to be our leader, my kids shouldn't have to be looking at the television and seeing the leader saying the things that he was saying. For me, that was that"

Miami Heat

Erik Spoelstra:

On Trump's comments, via Miami Herald

"It's a polarizing time. It's a disheartening time. I commend the Golden State Warriors for the decision they made. I commend NFL players and organizations for taking a stand for equality, for inclusion, for taking a stand against racism, bigotry, prejudice. These are all cornerstones of our great country. It's disheartening to see the divisiveness. We all feel discouraged by the divisiveness. We will meet with it as a team when we get in Boca (Raton). We will have a discussion about it."

On anthem demonstrations (Heat locked arms last season during the national anthem), via the Sun Sentinel:

"We will support our guys if they decide to fight this in a coherent way," Spoelstra said. "We all would like to see more equality and inclusion."  

Milwaukee Bucks

Jabari Parker:

"I'm not really surprised at what he said, because basically that's the narrative of Mr. Trump and that's the type of person he is. ... I think that anybody with any responsibility has the opportunity to create change and to take a side. You have good and you have bad. There's no in-between, because when you're in the middle, you're in favor of the oppressor. That's a quote by Desmond Tutu.

"As far as the flag goes, it's not like people are [protesting] for any ordinary reason. There's a huge meaning, a broad horizon to it. A lot of people are frustrated that nothing's changed from the time that we've learned it from kids until now. There's been a lot of bad going on with the oppression of colored folks and minorities, and it just all boils down to compassion -- and that's what a lot of people lack in our country, is compassion for people's story. When you feel a chance to have compassion for another, empathy for another person and put yourself in their shoes, that pretty much makes it a better place. Until then, we're not gonna make any progress. Basically that's what it is."

Malcolm Brogdon:

"I'm not surprised. There's a lot of hateful things, a lot of racist themes going around right now. I think it's important for athletes to continue to speak out, to step up, to use their platform. I think as we continue to come together and unify, I think we can make progress. But everything starts at the top. We have to have a leader that wants to unify people, that doesn't want to pull people apart. If we don't have a leader that's going to try to do that, then it's going to be a tough road.

"I think racism is something that's always gonna exist, but there are a lot of good people that live in the U.S. -- not everybody is a bad person. So I think it's important that people continue to step out and voice their opinions and demonstrate and protest, and do whatever they have to do to see change happen."

New Orleans Pelicans

DeMarcus Cousins:

"We haven't as a team talked about anything we want to do yet. Just with everything that is going on, it's sad. The leader of our nation -- it's kind of goofy if you think about it -- spends more time on Twitter than actually taking care of situations that are going on a daily basis. I could go on and on. I don't really want to get my personal feelings involved about it. It's getting to the point where it's just silly. I think we need to refocus on the task at hand. If you're going to be in that position let's handle the things you said you were going to handle. 

"The things that need to be touched on, we need to bring more awareness to it. Well, the awareness is there, we need to do something about it. I feel like the least of his concern should be what's going on in the NFL. We got world issues going on that are barely being talked about, from him, the leader of our nation. He needs to get his s--- together."

Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook:

"It's uncalled for. Especially due to all the other things we have going on in the world. The people, the families across the world that are hurting, that need help, that need guidance from our house. I think it's just unnecessary and uncalled for. I'm definitely not in agreement with anything he says, and I never will be."

Carmelo Anthony:

"I just think it's wrong, to be honest with you," he told USA TODAY Sports. "I just think it's silly. It just shows that you don't really have a care for the fear that the minorities have in our country right now. You don't really understand. You don't get it, like what it's like being a minority. You don't understand that people are scared. People are afraid. People don't know what's going on, and there's so much going on they don't know how to feel. I think all we're looking for is some kind of security blanket that – at the end of the day – you have our back. And you're showing that you don't." 

Orlando Magic

Jeff Weltman, via Orlando Sentinel:

"A season ago … Colin Kaepernick -- one player -- took a knee during the national anthem. Yesterday, 250 [NFL] players took a knee during the national anthem. Three teams didn't come out of their locker room," Weltman said. "The landscape is clearly changing, the ground is moving as we stand on it."  

Philadelphia 76ers

J.J. Redick:

"There's very few days that go by where I don't get pissed off at something Trump does, so this weekend was kind of like a normal thing. I try to take myself out of it and look at it like helicopter-view and be like, 'Holy s---, the president just called NFL players sons of bitches. Holy s---, he's bad-mouthing Steph Curry.' I tried to do that and it was still all a little too surreal. Also I'm not sure that he understands the definition of the word 'privilege.' That was probably the thing that bothered me the most out of all the comments that he made this weekend.

"But in the grand scheme of things, of all the comments that he's sort of made and the things that he's sort of done, I mean where do his comments this weekend fit in? Like, 87th? It's not that big a deal considering all the other stuff he's done.

"... There's nothing that I would ever want to say to Trump or interact with Trump. I agree with LeBron in the sense that what the White House and what the presidency used to represent does not represent that during these four years. It just does not. It's now a mockery of what the presidency and the White House stood for. So, I would have zero interest in ever going there."

Sacramento Kings

Vivek Ranadive:

"I have a deep respect for our nation's unwavering commitment to free speech and support all American's right to freely express themselves. The President's recent comments are deeply disappointing because our focus should be on fostering a culture of sensitivity and inclusion. Our mission at the Sacramento Kings has always been to unite our community and use our platform to create positive change, so we continue to stand with our players, and all people, who use their platform to raise awareness and make Sacramento and our country proud."

San Antonio Spurs

Gregg Popovich:

On Trump rescinding the Warriors' White House invite:

Well I thought it was comical that it was rescinded because they weren't going anyway. It's like a sixth grader's going to have a party in his backyard so he disinvites him. But again, I think the behavior, although it's disgusting, it's also comical.

On race relations:

I don't think about some platform that I have. I'm an individual. I live in this country. I have the right to say and think what I want. It's got nothing to do with my position. If it helps someone think one way or another about something, great. But the discussion has to take place.

Obviously, race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly, it's not going to get better. 'Oh, they're talking about that again. They pulled the race card again. Why do we have to talk about that?' Well, because it's uncomfortable. There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change, whether it's the LGBT movement, or women's suffrage, race, it doesn't matter. People have to be made to feel uncomfortable, and especially white people, because we're comfortable. We still have no clue what being born white means. And if you read some of the recent literature, you realize there really is no such thing as whiteness. We kind of made it up. That's not my original thought, but it's true.

It's hard to sit down and decide that, yes, it's like you're at the 50-meter mark in a 100-meter dash. You've got that kind of a lead, yes, because you were born white. You have advantage that are systemically, culturally, psychologically rare. And they've been built up and cemented for hundreds of years. But many people can't look at it that way, because it's too difficult. It can't be something that's on their plate on a daily basis. People want to hold their position, people want their status quo, people don't want to give that up. Until its given up, it's not going to be fixed.

On sports, culture and politics:

There's a lot involved in that when you say culture and politics and sports. People write books about that. I would hesitate to take that on as a whole. It makes more sense to me to be a bit more specific, and I'll just tell you what we say to our team.

Each one of them has the right and ability to say what they would like to say, and act the way they'd like to act. They have our full support and no matter what they might want to do or not do is important to them, respected by us, and there's no recrimination no matter what might take place, unless it's ridiculous egregious. There's a line for everything. But we do live in a difficult time and it doesn't do a whole lot of good ...

We all know the situation and it gets beaten up every day by talking heads, it starts to get personal. I think we all know why, we all know who the source where a lot of the division comes from, but to dwell on that is sometimes I think is the wrong way to go, because it's so obvious now. It's boring. The childishness, the gratuitous fear mongering and race baiting, has been so consistent that it's almost expected. The bar has been lowered so far that I think it's more important to be thinking about what to do in more organic roots based level. Thinking about the efforts to restrict voter registration, comments that demean cultures, ethic groups, races, women. Those sorts of things. What can be done in an organic way to fight that?

We know how everything happens, we know where the power in the country is, we know the racism that exists. But it's gone beyond that to a point where I'm more worried about, and confused by, the people around our president. These are intelligent people who know exactly what's going on. They basically were very negative about his actions but now it seems like it's condoned. We saw it this weekend with his comments about people who should be fired or people who shouldn't be allowed to do this sort of thing. I wonder what the people think about who voted for him, where their line is, how much they can take, where does the morality and decency kick in?

I understand very well they didn't like their choice, economically. A lot of people had a problem. And he was the right guy at the right time to tap into that mood. But people overlooked one helluva lot to pull that trigger and vote in that direction, but it was because they wanted change, they felt ignored, they actually thought something would happen that would aid them. But at what price, is the question.

And as we see the actions over and over again, one wonders what is in their head. Have they come to the conclusion that they had the wrong vehicle? They might have had good ideas, good reasons why they wanted to go the way they went. But someone else that had a little bit more decency about how they approach other people and other groups might have served better. That's what I worry about in the country.

You wonder about if you live where you thought you live. I just heard a comment this morning from a NASCAR owner and Mr. Petty that just blew me away, just blew me away. Where the owner described that he would get the Greyhound bus tickets for anybody to leave, and they'd be fired, and Mr. Petty, who said people who act the way we saw Sunday, they should leave the country. That's where I live. I had no idea that I lived in a country where people would actually say that sort of thing. I'm not totally naive but I think these people have been enabled by an example that we've all been given. You've seen it in Charlottesville, and on and on and on. That's not a surprise. Get over it. What do we do to get it done. To go to the grassroots and not allow this to happen again.

Our country's an embarrassment to the world. This is an individual who actually thought that when people held arms during the game, that they were doing it to honor the flag. That's delusional. Absolutely delusional. But it's what we have to live with.

So we have a choice. We can continue to bounce our heads off the wall with his conduct, or we can decide that the institutions of our country are more important, that people are more important, that the decent America that we all thought we had and want is more important, and get down to business at a grassroots level and do what we have to do.

I guess that's enough for now.

Washington Wizards

Bradley Beal:

"To me, you're a clown. That's unacceptable. That's not what a leader does. Your job is supposed to bring people together. Everyone in the world feels like since you've got in office that hasn't been the case. There's a lot of issues going around in the world -- like Puerto Rico doesn't have water or power, like they are still a part of the U.S. -- but you're worried about guys kneeling during the national anthem.

"If you actually look at the reason that they're kneeling versus your own personal pleasure, then you'll fully understand it. But until you do that, then you're not going to understand it. I disagree with what he's doing, I disagree with his thoughts. Hopefully as a nation we can come together and better understand what's really at stake here and the disasters that are going on in everyday life."

John Wall:

"Most of our franchise guys or big time players in the league are African-Americans. You have Chris Paul, you have Dwyane Wade, you have Carmelo Anthony, you have LeBron James that went and talked at the ESPYs. Until the guys that are the face of the [NFL] -- African-American guys come from college and they're great quarterbacks. You get to the NFL, what do they try to do? Change our position. Why? Because franchise guys are quarterbacks.

"So you have guys like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers -- love those guys, very talented. Until those guys come out and speak, I don't think the NFL is going to make any adjustments. Remember when we were dealing with our stuff, with [former Clippers owner] Donald Sterling and all that type of things, it was like, 'Well if LeBron and those guys don't come out, if Kobe don't come out and say nothing, it's never going to be a stand taken.' When those guys came out and started talking, what happened? He's fired. The stand stood. Until those guys in the NFL come up and stand up for Kaepernick and for those guys ... until they do that, I don't think anything's going to change."


Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories
    Flagrant Two Podcast