Usually when there’s an event in the world of politics that intersects with the world of basketball, those in the NBA are asked to comment and are pretty good at speaking poignantly about what went down. The recent ongoing tensions with the league and China, however, have been a different animal, and the league’s players and coaches haven’t been particularly forceful in condemning anyone.
Perhaps the most common response we’ve heard is a fair one, with folks saying that this is a complex issue regarding foreign policy and they don’t feel equipped to eloquently discuss what’s going on. That was the case with Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who said that he’s trying to learn about what’s going on and doesn’t want to speak further.
Steve Kerr's full statement on the NBA/China controversy pic.twitter.com/7D5QTCtQe9
— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) October 8, 2019
A cynic would say this answer is not acceptable from someone as outspoken as Kerr, while a person who believes he’s being honest would say this is the smart approach given the gravity of the situation. But regardless, the answer that Kerr (and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) gave to this was not acceptable to President Donald Trump, who critiqued the pair while he met with the media on Wednesday.
The full bit of Trump commenting on the NBA/Steve Kerr/Popovich – wow, never thought I'd write that.
"But I watched the way that like Kerr, Popovich and some of the others, were pandering to China and yet to our own country, they don’t — it’s like they don’t respect it." pic.twitter.com/17OnyFfNHS
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) October 9, 2019
Both coaches, of course, take frequent shots at the president, so it is wholly unsurprising that Trump would take the opportunity to go after them. This occurred just before Steph Curry met with the media, and as he will sometimes do, decided to respond to Trump critiquing his coach with a little bit of levity.
Steph Curry: “Just heard about the Trump thing. Gotta welcome Steve to the club.”
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 9, 2019
Curry and Trump got into a spat a few years back after Curry said the Warriors would not make the ceremonial trip to the White House following their NBA Championship victory, and in response, Trump said Golden State. The saga was notable for how the basketball world rallied behind Curry, and included LeBron James famously referring to Trump as “u bum.”