LeBron James’ 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers were the last NBA team to visit the White House after winning an NBA Title, doing so in the days after that year’s presidential election, in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. Given the league and its players’ relationship with Trump, most figured that it would be the last team to do so for a while. That would up being the case. Now, James’ Los Angeles Lakers hope to be the team to pick the tradition back up.
The 2017 and 2018 Golden State Warriors and 2019 Toronto Raptors all skipped—or were not invited—to visit. Had Trump won reelection, that treatment would very likely have continued as long as he was in office. Instead, President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated later this month. That gives some hope that LeBron James and his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers, can pick up where the 2016 Cavs left off.
“The Los Angeles Lakers are looking forward to reconvening a post-championship tradition of visiting the White House at some point during the 2020-21 season after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States,” Yahoo Sports‘ Chris Haynes reports. “Members of the franchise — from players to management — see it as a pleasure and an honor to have their accomplishment recognized by the incoming president, but reconvening the tradition this season shall depend on logistics, sources said.”
There are numerous obstacles to clear to make this happen, of course. COVID-19 is, of course, a massive issue. After seeing numerous outbreaks within the Trump White House, many linked back to unnecessary celebrations that became superspreader events, avoiding those would be a good look for Biden and company. The NBA schedule is also very uncertain at this time.
Yahoo Sources: Los Angeles Lakers look to reconvene post-championship tradition of visiting White House this season after Joe Biden is sworn into office. https://t.co/pn5GaPL3AZ
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 7, 2021
So far, the NBA has only released the first half of this year’s schedule, running from Dec. 22 to March 4.
Most of these events coincide with a team’s trip to play the Washington Wizards. As a Western Conference team, the Los Angeles Lakers will only do that once this year, and so far it is not on the books. They could potentially figure something out over the summer as well, when the COVID-19 vaccine is hopefully more widely spread and a big celebration could be less risky.
Maybe we can toss an opportunity to members of those Warriors and Raptors teams as well, and any other athletes who’ve missed out on their opportunity over the last four years as well, once it is safe of course.