Joe Biden honors Milwaukee Bucks at White House

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President Biden on Monday welcomed the Milwaukee Bucks to the White House, marking the first NBA champion to visit the White House since 2016.

The president hailed the team’s success on the court while also praising their activism. He recalled the team’s decision to sit out Game 5 of the first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Biden said the team “took a stand for justice and peace” in wake of the shooting.

“You got people engaged,” the president said. “It really mattered. I remember calling your coach. You got people engaged in the vote, in the political process. You encouraged fans to get vaccinated. I just want to thank you.

The Bucks won the title — their first in 50 years — by beating the Phoenix Suns in six games in the NBA Finals in six games. In the final game in Milwaukee, Giannis Antekokounmpo scored 50 points.

Biden recalled the first NBA team to visit the White House, the 1963 Boston Celtics, who were welcomed there by President Kennedy. He said the Bucks continue that tradition in “sport and democracy.”

“Through it all, one thing remains constant — the values of the game and the sport: teamwork, hard work, and respect. And the belief that we can strengthen the bonds that bring us together and stand for something bigger than ourselves,” Biden said.

The Bucks are the first NBA champions to be honored at the White House since former President Obama honored the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

In 2017 and 2018, the Golden State Warriors declined to visit the White House with star Steph Curry saying his team didn’t agree with former President Trump’s stances on several hot button issues.

The 2019 champion Toronto Raptors also declined, citing political differences with Trump. Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers did not visit the White House because of COVID-19.

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