Photo of Joe Biden

Remarks Honoring the 2022 National Basketball Association Champion Golden State Warriors

January 17, 2023

The President. Hello, everyone. Please have a seat if you have it. I'm tempted to say, as honored as I am to be here speaking, I'm not sure I wouldn't be even more excited if I was standing back there. [Laughter]

Kamala, thank you very much. It feels like a Warrior home game, and that is the toughest ticket in town. [Laughter] And this has been a tough ticket to get in town.

Nancy Pelosi—where are you, Nance? Nancy? The greatest Speaker in our history, and this is her home court right here. [Laughter]

Folks, it's so wonderful to be here.

Paul—good to see you, Paul. God love you. That's the man.

There's several other Members of the California delegation here—who are also here, and along with several city and State leaders. But as Kamala said, we're all closely monitoring the storms, the floods, the landslides all across California. And our heart is with all of the families—all the families—in the communities that are hurting and all the brave and historic—and heroic first responders.

Working closely with Governor Newsom—I'm in constant contact with—and the entire delegation, I issued a disaster declaration to support recovery and to rebuild. And I'll be traveling to California on Thursday to assess the damage and see what additional support may be needed.

Difficult moments like this remind us that we are one America. We're one America. And, folks, I know the team we're honoring today understands what it takes to work together.

Let me just say that the Golden State Warriors are always welcome in this White House. Always welcome.

No more droughts. [Laughter] I mean in California.

And congratulations to the team's owner, Peter and Joe. Congratulations to the staff and coaches and fans and, most especially, to the incredible players standing behind me.

Today, the Golden State Warriors are known as one of the most successful franchises in basketball and all of sports. And four NBA titles, six finals, and—in the last eight seasons. That ain't bad, man. [Laughter] That ain't bad. The stat line of a dynasty.

But the last couple of years were pretty tough. You struggled in 2020, missed the playoffs in '21, and critics wondered if this team was gone for good as a championship team. But, fellas, I know what it feels like. [Laughter] I've been there.

But, as my dad used to say: "Joe, get up. Just get up, and never give up." But you never gave up, and you always believed.

Coached by one of the greats, a man of courage and humility—five rings as a player, four as a coach—Steve Kerr. And by the way, he's running out of fingers. [Laughter] You all see the size of those rings? He has to walk around like this.

[At this point, the President stepped forward with his arms slung low.]

[Laughter] Well, I tell you what—[laughter].

And one of the best executives in sports, Bob Myers, who rebuilt and reimagined a team around the Big 3: Steph, Draymond, and Kay [Klay; White House correction]. Well, you guys are something incredible. I mean, you add up to 72 feet? [Laughter] You're amazing. I swear to God, you're incredible. [Laughter] Who worked like hell to come back after missing two and a half seasons in injuries. You brought Andre, and you signed another group of up-and-coming stars.

In 2022, you showed what you're all about: heart and hustle. Finishing near the top of the Western Conference at the end of the regular season. In the playoffs, defeating Denver, Memphis, and Dallas. And in the finals, beating the Boston Celtics for the Warriors' seventh title in franchise history. That's pretty damn good.

And, Steph, earning your first Finals MVP award. Finals. That's not bad, man. [Laughter] How's it feel compared to all those other MVPs? [Laughter]

Guard W. Stephen Curry II. This was the best one.

The President. It was the best one? All right. [Laughter]

Well, I tell you what—it goes with his two regular season MVP awards, including the first unanimous MVP in NBA history, and cementing his place in history among the best ever.

You know, and they don't do it with a style of play that does anything other than reflect America: constant motion with individual freedom and personality that comes together as one team—a team that plays with joy, with drive to be their best, and reflects the vibrancy of the Bay and the culture of our country.

And no wonder—it's no wonder why millions of people at home and around the world stop and watch you play. And that's true. Wherever they can tune in, they watch.

You entertain, and above all, you do something that I don't even think you guys think about a lot: You inspire. You inspire. Unrelated to basketball, you just inspire.

And let me close with this. On Sunday, it would have been Dr. King's 94th birthday. I believe—I had the great honor of being the first sitting President to deliver a sermon at Sunday service that—at his cherished Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Fellas, we've been on some big stages, but that was something special and humbling for me. You could feel his spirit. You literally could feel his spirit, at least I could—his moral vision and—of a "Beloved Community" where we move forward and we move forward together.

It's exactly 60 years ago this month when President Kennedy hosted the Boston Celtics as the first NBA championship team to visit the White House. A few months later, in August, a Celtic legend, Bill Russell, returned to Washington, this time to stand at the Lincoln Memorial to hear Dr. King deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech.

I know this is the first season without Mr. Russell since his passing last year, and we miss him. But we know that all of you carry forward the through-line of greatness and service that he and Dr. King represented.

It's fitting we continue the tradition to host the day after Dr. King's holiday. Look at what this team does: speaking out against racism, standing up for equality—I mean speaking out loudly against racism; standing up for equality; encouraging people to vote; empowering children and their families to eat healthy, learn, and play in safe places; rallying the country against gun violence.

And, Coach, I want to thank you again. I want to thank you again. I really mean it. I was told his dad was a great man and professor at Beirut University and so much more. But he was a victim of gun violence. But it matters.

We always believed that America can be summed up, I believe, in a single word. I was asked by Xi Jinping on the Tibetan Plateau some years ago. He said, "Can you define America for me?" This is the God's truth. And I said: "Yes, in one word: possibilities. Possibilities."

Each of you, individually and together as a team, proved that anything is possible if we do it together. There's nothing beyond the capacity of this country if we work together. Nothing. I really mean it and believe that with my whole heart and soul.

Our national motto is E pluribus unum—out of many, one. Well, you put the Dub Nation in that advice [Laughter] Strength in numbers. That's the Warrior spirit. But that's also America.

And now it's my honor to introduce someone I really admire not just as a player but as a person. And we all know the state [stat; White House correction] line of championships and MVPs. We see the highlight reels—one of the sharpest shooters to ever play the game.

But when you watch Steph Curry play, you can also see a man of character who puts in the work, who walks his faith, who loves his family, and brings people together as one of the great sportsmen of our time.

And besides that, he—the only thing he and I really have in common: We both married way above our station. [Laughter] Way above our station.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Steph Curry.

Mr. Curry. Thank you for that, President Biden, Vice President Harris, the entire White House staff. Thank you all for welcoming us here.

The entire organization—Warriors organization, every teammate, every coach, front office, executive staff, everybody that's here celebrating with us. We are a team. We do it together. And to be able to celebrate our championship together with you here, it means a lot to bring that trophy here. It means a lot.

I think we were here 7 years ago for our first championship. So, to have another opportunity to be here, it means—it means the world. We had a connection obviously with your former boss, President Obama, with his Chicago ties and watching Coach Kerr and celebrating championships there.

But there is a connection to you. I know you grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania. And that's 2 hours away from Philly, which is where the Warriors organization began. In 1946, we won our first championship. So we—'46 has a nice ring with him—[laughter]—with you as the 46th President. So that is a great connection there.

And then, obviously, Vice President Harris representing Oakland, representing the Bay Area the way that we do every time we step foot on the court, which you've been able to do here in DC, it means the world.

Vice President Kamala D. Harris. Thank you.

Mr. Curry. So you are, I know, a huge fan. And you're loud with it too. And we love that. [Laughter] So we appreciate you. Keep doing——

Vice President Harris. Thank you.

Mr. Curry. No, it's——

Vice President Harris. Yes.

Mr. Curry. We love that. We love that spirit. And we want to continue to make you proud with everything that we do.

Vice President Harris. Thank you.

Mr. Curry. And, again, for us to be here—to find the common synergies within, you know, what we do on the court and what we represent. And when it comes to providing hope, inspiration, belief to everybody that watches us play, that's what you do in your roles leading our country.

And to continue to do exactly what you said—do things together, continue to preach that message that's what we're all about, and obviously in the pursuit of winning championships and doing amazing things.

We brought some gifts for you. We have two jerseys—a number 46 and a number 49—that we would love to have you a part of Dub Nation forever. [Laughter] And maybe find it maybe on the wall in the Oval Office or in your office. [Laughter] That would be—we'll come back—hopefully, we'll be able to come back and check and see if it's up there. But—[laughter].

I want to say, again, thank you for letting us be here to celebrate. And for our families, our staff, everybody here on the stage, it means the world. And hopefully, this isn't the last time.

So thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:14 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul; Peter Guber, co-executive chairman, Joseph Lacob, chief executive officer and co-executive chairman, Bob Myers, general manager, Draymond J. Green, forward, Klay A. Thompson, guard, and Andre T. Iguodala, guard-forward, Golden State Warriors; and President Xi Jinping of China. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Vice President Harris, who introduced the President.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks Honoring the 2022 National Basketball Association Champion Golden State Warriors Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/359389

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