The NBA champion Toronto Raptors are still waiting for a call from US President Donald Trump, but they’ve already made plans to visit Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
A long held tradition until Trump’s presidency, the NBA champions typically receive an invite to the White House.
When some Golden State Warriors players expressed concerns about visiting Trump in 2017, their invitation was rescinded. They were not invited back when they repeated as champions in 2018.
This year is an interesting case, of course, because the Raptors are the first NBA champion to call Canada home.
“I’ve heard nothing about the White House,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse in an interview with the FAN 590 after confirming that plans are already in the works to visit Trudeau. “We’re Canada’s team anyway, right?”
With Trudeau in Washington to visit with Trump on Thursday, the American President was asked if he intends to invite the Raptors to the White House. His answer?
“They played phenomenal basketball,” said Trump. “I watched a little bit of it. They were really terrific… So we’ll think about that. If they’d like to do it, we’ll think about that. We have a lot of other folks coming…”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 20, 2019
A Canadian team receiving an invite to the White House is not without precedent, as the Toronto Blue Jays visited US President George Bush after winning the World Series in 1992. They weren’t invited back by President Bill Clinton when they repeated as champs in 1993 though.
Like those Blue Jays teams, many of the Raptors players are from the United States, including star players Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry.
Whether the Raptors would accept a potential invite or follow the lead of the Warriors is an open question though.
Nurse was asked specifically if he would visit Trump.
“I don’t know,” said the Iowa native, who will coach Canada at the Basketball World Cup this summer. “We’re here (in Canada). Let’s go see Trudeau up in Ottawa. We’re Canada’s team.”
Sounds like a plan to me.