SAN FRANCISCO -- The controversy between the NBA and China has found its way to the White House.
Shortly after Warriors coach Steve Kerr finished his media availability Wednesday afternoon, a clip surfaced of US President Donald Trump calling Kerr "a little boy" for his response to the controversy between the NBA, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and China.
During his presidency, Trump has been no stranger to criticizing sports figures -- specifically the Warriors and guard Steph Curry. Minutes after Trump's statement, Curry defended Kerr and echoed his coach's sentiments from earlier this week.
"I gotta welcome Steve to the club," Curry joked following Wednesday's practice. "That's kind of par for the course there."
Trump's comments come nearly a week after Morey tweeted and deleted “stand with Hong Kong” in support of protests happening in the city. The tweet caused a firestorm in China, as country officials denounced the tweet and Chinese shoe companies Li Ning and Anta paused sponsorships with the Rockets. This week, CCTV -- China's state-run broadcast company -- announced they canceled NBA preseason coverage.
Following the Warriors' open practice Monday, Kerr opted not to speak on the China-NBA controversy, saying he didn't know enough about the situation. Two days later, Curry echoed his coach's sentiments.
"I think with this one, it's a leaguewide situation and our presence in China, it's just a different conversation," Curry added. "Coach talks about gun violence and gender equality and things that for us as being spokespeople for people who can't speak for themselves and our communities that make a huge impact. This situation has a huge weight and gravity to it and there are some things that need to be sorted out but I just don't know about Chinese history and how that's influenced modern society and that interaction to speak on it.
"... I'm not dodging the question. I've had a lot of stuff going on in my personal life so I need to sit down. Something this big that involves the entire landscape of the league and of course with a country like China, like that's something you're not walking into lightheartedly saying stuff off the cuff."
For years, the Warriors have been the poster team for statements on social issues, ranging from gun-control to equal pay. But in recent days, the team has been mum about the issue. Following Kerr's comments, the coach faced criticism by not giving a forceful statement, with some observers calling Kerr's non-comment hypocritical. On Wednesday, Curry defended his coach.
"We've always been outspoken," Curry said. "As far as I can remember, in terms of our organization and all that but from the league and China and just our presence there and the way we've been building the business it's an interesting situation because there's so much history involved and I don't know that history well enough to kind of speak on it or form an opinion yet."
Trump isn't new to criticizing the Warriors. Following the team's 2017 championship, with the team mulling a customary White House house visit, Trump "disinvited" the team.
"Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team," Trump wrote. "Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!"
On Wednesday, Curry seemed perplexed when asked why Trump has called the team out.
"It's weird, just cause I figured he'd have other things better to do with his time," Curry said. "But those kind of conversations you hope are just productive and whatever the issue is or the narrative or whatever it is, hopefully, the majority reaction is people figuring out a solution to what we're talking about or having productive conversations beyond just words and 140 character tweets at people."
The NBA's reaction to Morey's tweet has been mixed. In the fallout, NBA executives also denounced Morey's comments. Nets majority owner Joseph Tsai -- who owns Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba -- said Morey's comments "will take a long time to repair.” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass called Morey's comments "regrettable." League commissioner Adam Silver said he wouldn't punish Morey for his tweet and hoped he could repair the league's relationship with China.
The controversy involving the NBA has unique implications for members of Golden State's roster. Guard Jacob Evans, big man Kevon Looney and guard Klay Thompson all have shoe contracts with Chinese company Anta. Additionally, Curry -- who has a sneaker and apparel deal with Under Armour -- routinely has taken promotional trips to the country. Under the current climate, Curry was non-commital about his business relationship with the country going forward.
"I'm not sure, Curry said. "I've done it for the last six years and honestly I've enjoyed my times there so that's been a big part of my summer routine and my experience and like I said, I've enjoyed it. But I don't know how it will affect it at all at this point."
As far as Trump's words affecting the Warriors season, Curry said it wouldn't.
"I think we all have a good barometer of how to focus on basketball when we need to but this is a business, this is about growing the game," he said. "Not only domestically, but internationally and the opportunity that's out there across many countries, including China."