Kevin Durant isn't heading to the White House any time soon.
On Thursday, he made it official, telling ESPN he would not be making the customary visit to celebrate his first career title with the Golden State Warriors.
"I don't respect who's in office right now," Durant said.
The Warriors captured the trophy in June, but Durant said he wanted to collect his thoughts and consider the issue before making a statement, even though no decision has been made by Golden State on the matter and the White House has yet to send an official invite.
"I don't agree with what [Donald Trump] agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that," Durant said. "That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."
Durant's comments came at an especially turbulent time in American politics. Last weekend, white nationalists and Nazis marched on Charlottesville, Va., to protest the removal of a statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee. The weekend event spawned counter protestors. On Saturday, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed and 33 others were injured after 20-year-old white nationalist James Alex Fields plowed his car into a crowd.
The president initially criticized violence on "many sides," before condemning the Nazis and white nationalists by name in a statement on Monday. However, in a contentious press conference a day later, he doubled down on his criticisms of "both sides," publicly defending a group that, on Friday night, marched through Charlottesville yelling racist and anti-Semitic chants.
Durant's comments seem to align with the feelings of his coach, Steve Kerr, who hasn't publicly said whether he will go the White House or not (if invited), but once called Trump a "blowhard" who is "ill-suited" for the presidency.
Trump's comments regarding the weekend's rally drew specific criticism elsewhere in the NBA, too. Steve Nash poked fun at Trump for noting he owned a winery in the area late in his press conference, while LeBron James took a swipe at the president as well.
Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!- LeBron James (@KingJames) August 15, 2017
Durant's comments will likely ignite a debate about the role of athlete activism and whether teams or players should boycott an invitation to the White House. If more follow KD's lead, they won't be the only ones.
Several members of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots publicly announced plans to avoid the team's April visit to the White House and followed through with their intentions. Tom Brady, who counts Trump as a friend, skipped the Patriots trip in 2015, citing a scheduling conflict. Asked about his teammates' decisions to bow out for political reasons in 2017, he said, "Everybody has their own choice."
Others have made similar gestures toward previous administrations for a variety of reasons.
Matt Birk, Baltimore Ravens, 2013: The Ravens' offensive lineman boycotted the team's visit to Barack Obama's White House because of his pro-life stance. He cited Obama's support of Planned Parenthood as the reason for his decision. "I would say that I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, 'God bless Planned Parenthood,'" Birk said. "Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the pro-life movement and I just felt like I couldn't deal with that. I couldn't endorse that in any way." It should be noted: Birk was technically incorrect. Obama actually said "God bless America" and "Thank you, Planned Parenthood" to end the speech Birk referenced.
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins, 2012: Thomas was the only player on his team to skip the visit with President Obama, but he declined the visit based on a more big-picture belief than a preference for either party. "I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People," he wrote on Facebook to announce his decision. "This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country."
1972 Miami Dolphins: Yes, the only undefeated Super Bowl champion in history didn't visit the White House. It was common, though not a given custom at the time for teams to make visits, but the Dolphins elected to forego a visit with President Richard Nixon, who was stuck in the midst of a Watergate scandal at the time. Obama invited the team in 2013, but three players from the team -- Manny Fernandez, Bob Kuechenberg and Jim Langer -- skipped the visit because they disagreed with Obama's policies.
Dan Hampton, Chicago Bears, 2011: The Bears' visit in 1986 didn't happen because of the spaceshuttle Challenger explosion, but Obama -- a Chicago native -- hosted the team 25 years later. Hampton elected to skip because he was "not a fan of the guy in the White House" and drew criticism from teammates. Hampton was also irked that the invitation didn't extend to spouses and children, leading tight end Tim Wrightman to ask if Hampton would invite the wife he had now or the wife he had back then.
Mark Chmura, Green Bay Packers, 1997: He initially cited a previously scheduled golf tournament for skipping a visit to Bill Clinton's White House, but changed his tune as the Monica Lewinsky scandal picked up steam. "I knew it all along," he said. "It doesn't really say much for society and the morals [Clinton] sets forth for our children."
Larry Bird, Boston Celtics, 1984: Bird skipped a visit to Ronald Reagan's White House, saying, "If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me." He never specified a specific reason, but other Celtics teammates joined him.
Pia Sundhage, U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, 2008: Sundhage, who is Swedish, boycotted the team's visit and cited political disagreements with George W. Bush.
Tom Lehman, 1993: Lehman declined to visit Bill Clinton in the White House after winning the 1992 Ryder Cup, refering to the president as "that draft-dodging baby killer."
Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls, 1991: MJ skipped his team's visit to George H.W. Bush after winning his first title, but never legitimized suspicions that the snub was politically motivated. He said he was going to spend time with his family, but some in Chicago wrote that the decision took away from the title and was disrespectful. "As you know, my schedules have been very hectic," Jordan said. "You guys have seen me, I've been every which way. How can I be disrespecting the president when I choose to spend time with my family?" However, Jordan's teammate, Craig Hodges, delivered Bush an eight-page letter detailing "a comprehensive plan for change" for the nation's racial and economic issues.