As the first non-American team to win an NBA championship, it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of the Toronto Raptors concerning a potential visit to the White House.
A longstanding tradition south of the border, the annual champions from the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB usually get an invitation to meet the President in Washington.
Donald Trump’s presidency has changed that though.
The Golden State Warriors had their invitation rescinded in 2017 when it became clear that a number of big name players wouldn’t show up. They weren’t invited back in 2018 – instead visiting with former President Barack Obama in January.
The Philadelphia Eagles had their visit cancelled in 2017 for similar reasons to the Warriors.
Trump, by the way, hasn’t tweeted about the Raptors at all.
The US President could get away with not inviting the Raptors at all, based on the fact that the team resides in Canada – though there are 12 Americans on their roster, including stars like Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry.
When the Toronto Blue Jays became the first-ever team from Canada to win the World Series in 1992, then-President George Bush did indeed invite them to the White House. But when the Blue Jays repeated as champions in 1993, President Bill Clinton did not extend an invitation.
The last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, the Montreal Canadiens were also not offered an invite to the White House when they were crowned champions in 1993.
— Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) June 14, 2019
While a visit to Washington is far from a guarantee, you can bet the Raptors will get an invitation to Ottawa. Justin Trudeau spoke at the team’s championship rally on Monday and the Prime Minister’s Office has previously expressed interest in inviting the Raptors to Parliament.