It would have been hard to imagine a world a few years ago where the stars of the NBA were engaged in a Twitter war with the President of the United States. But yet, that is where we are today.
Over the weekend, President Trump “dis-invited” Steph Curry to the White House after he was reportedly considering not going. Trump then attacked those who had been kneeling during the national anthem in the NFL, which sparked team-wide protests on a large scale, with whole teams not coming onto the field during the national anthem and even the NFL’s czar Roger Goodell released a statement of disappointment towards the president.
On the NBA side, the response to Trump’s calling out of Steph Curry was swift, with many of the largest names in the NBA leaping into the fray.
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
With everything that's going on in our country, why are YOU focused on who's kneeling and visiting the White House??? #StayInYoLane— Chris Paul (@CP3) September 23, 2017
A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can't possibly "Make America Great Again"— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) September 23, 2017
Golden State players are champions and men of principle who give back to their community. #respect— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 23, 2017
That collection of tweets is just a small piece of the response from NBA coaches, players, owners and the NBA Players Association. This, of course, was happening at the exact same time that the NFL was standing behind the players who have decided to protest by taking a knee during the national anthem and, more specifically, Colin Kaepernick.
The expected response to this all is the backlash that those involved in the Sports world should “stick to sports.” This mantra only serves to invalidate those whose opinions differ from the status quo, those who are challenging the system to recognize the injustices that reside within it.
I’ll let Minnesota’s own Karl-Anthony Towns take over here, from the article he wrote in the Players Tribune, “And to anyone who says, ‘Stick to sports’ … let’s be real: Our President used to host a reality TV show. You’re telling me I can’t voice a political opinion?”
Meanwhile, as the NBA and the political world were engaged high-stakes battle for national opinion, a blockbuster trade was taking place. Carmelo Anthony was finally traded from the New York Knicks after he agreed to waive his trade clause to facilitate trades to a few other teams. After months of rumors of Melo being traded to the Rockets or Cavaliers, the final trade:
New York has agreed to a deal to send Carmelo Anthony to OKC for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 23, 2017
The Oklahoma City Thunder swooped in yet again this offseason and nabbed another high-profile star. How are Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony all going to play together? I have absolutely no idea, but it will be a joy to watch to see how it all works out.
Of course, this makes the West even stronger. The Thunder were in the tier, likely by themselves, just below the Rockets, Spurs, and Warriors before this trade, but it seems fair to assume this trade vaults them up alongside the more serious challengers to the Warriors. The upcoming season just got a little more exciting.
A few moves were also made by the Bulls, as they signed restricted free agent Nikola Mirotic to a two-year deal, with a team option on the second year. The first year is for $12.5 million. An interesting wrinkle from the last few weeks is that the restricted free agents who were waiting to be signed are finally getting deals and Mirotic and Mason Plumlee have been handsomely paid even though there were no competitors for their services.
Dwayne Wade also reached buyout terms with the Bulls, giving back $8 million of his of $23.8 million salary to become an unrestricted free agent. Now, teams are lining up to recruit Wade in hopes of bringing on another Star.
Sources: Cleveland, San Antonio and Miami are leaders for Dwyane Wade post-Bulls buyout. OKC could become factor too.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 25, 2017
The Cavaliers are the obvious choice, considering the relationship between LeBron and Wade, but it will be interesting to see where Wade lands, as it is unclear if he would be comfortable transitioning to a more veteran role off the bench or if he still plans on starting.
Lots to talk about today, hope its a Happy Monday.