WASHINGTON — While plans are underway for the Toronto Raptors to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a White House visit for the NBA champions is uncertain.
Asked by a reporter after a meeting with Trudeau if he’ll extend an invitation to the first NBA championship team from outside the United States, U.S. President Donald Trump was noncommittal on Thursday.
“We thought about that. That’s an interesting question,” said Trump, seated beside Trudeau in a news conference.
“They played phenomenal basketball. I watched a little bit of it. They were really terrific, congratulations by the way,” Trump added, nodding at Trudeau.
“That was a great job by a great team. We’ll think about that. If they’d like to do it, we’ll think about that.”
Eleanore Catenaro, a spokeswoman for Trudeau, confirmed Thursday there are plans to get the Raptors to Ottawa.
“We are looking forward to welcoming them here,” she said, though no further details were provided.
The Raptors captured the NBA title on June 13 when they beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the Finals in Oakland, Calif.
After the Toronto Blue Jays became the first Canadian team to win the World Series in 1992, they visited President George H.W. Bush in the White House. The Blue Jays did not go in 1993 after winning a second World Series in a row with Bill Clinton as president.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse, during an interview on the Fan 590 AM on Wednesday, said he expected to meet Trudeau and said he had “heard nothing about the White House.”
“We’re here, let’s go see Trudeau up in Ottawa. We’re Canada’s team,” Nurse added.
The Warriors opted not to visit the White House in 2017 after receiving an invitation from Trump following their NBA championship triumph. They were not invited after winning again in 2018.
The Canadian Press