Lakers Reportedly Won't Visit White House When They Play Wizards on April 28

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIApril 17, 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers players celebrate after the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are headed to the nation's capital later this month, but they still won't be visiting the White House to celebrate their 2020 NBA championship.

ESPN's Dave McMenamin reported Saturday that the team will not visit President Joe Biden when it heads east to play the Washington Wizards because of scheduling conflicts and COVID-19 protocols, though the Lakers haven't ruled out a visit in the future.

An NBA team hasn't visited the White House since the last time LeBron James went, following his championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. The Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018 and Toronto Raptors in 2019 turned down the tradition during the Trump administration.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported in January that the Lakers were planning to renew the tradition once Biden took office (h/t Kurt Helin of NBC Sports). Biden was on board: After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in February, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Bucs and Lakers should expect invitations to the White House "when it's COVID-safe."

James said shortly after the inauguration that visiting the Oval Office "would be great," but he acknowledged the league's health and safety protocols would make that difficult and that the team had not had any conversations about it.

The trip may have to wait until after the season. By the time they celebrate their 2020 title with Biden, the Lakers could have two trophies to bring.