The Golden State Warriors have won four NBA championships since 2015. Normally, that would mean four trips to the White House, but the Warriors haven't been back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since their first title for, shall we say, a difference of opinion between the team and administration during Golden State's second and third titles in 2017 and 2018.
But the Warriors returned Tuesday, months after winning another ring behind the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and with the help of young stars Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins. And Curry took a few moments to reflect on the past seven years as well as thank President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for their role in the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner.
“It means a lot to know that she’s here,” Curry said, “and all the work that went on behind the scenes to make that a reality. So I just want to say thank you there.”
Curry and the Warriors were among the many players and NBA teams who outwardly supported the release of Griner throughout the duration of her 10-month imprisonment in Russia. Curry called for Griner's release during the Warriors' championship ring ceremony on Oct. 18 — which was also Griner's 32nd birthday — and later opened his 2022 SI Sportsperson of the Year Award speech by welcoming Griner back to the United States.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr also spoke Tuesday about the visit and mentioned he and members of the team participated in a roundtable discussion about gun violence and gun safety with members of the White House staff.
"We learned a lot about what this administration is doing to help create a safer environment in our country," Kerry said, "and it's something that's very close to my heart and it's wonderful for me to learn a lot more than I knew."
Kerr has been a staunch advocate of gun control laws in the wake of multiple mass shootings in the United States over the past several years. He gave an impassioned speech in front of reporters before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, days after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and then again before Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
While the Warriors returned to the White House, it might be harder to return to the NBA Finals in 2023. Golden State sits in seventh place in the Western Conference and 8-8 since Curry injured his shoulder in December. The Warriors have also endured a couple of in-house issues, particularly when it came to an offseason altercation between Green and Poole.
But for now, the Warriors will celebrate their fourth ring in eight seasons as the team makes a push for a fifth.