Basketball

Trump rips ‘scared’ Warriors coach Kerr over China-NBA response

President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters during an event on “transparency in Federal guidance and enforcement” in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Washington.
President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters during an event on “transparency in Federal guidance and enforcement” in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Washington. AP Photo

President Donald Trump took aim at Steve Kerr, one of his most vocal critics from the sports world, for not offering an opinion on China's battle with the NBA, saying Wednesday the Warriors coach "was like a little boy, he was so scared."

While speaking with the press, Trump was asked if it's wrong for China to be putting pressure on the NBA over the league's refusal to condemn support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. China's state-run television network has suspended its extensive NBA coverage over the flap, and the country's billion-dollar dealings with the league have been compromised.

"Well, the NBA's a different thing. I mean I watched this guy, Steve Kerr, and he was like a little boy, he was so scared to answer the question," Trump said, alluding to Kerr saying he would withhold comment until he knew more. "He couldn't even answer the question, he was shaking, 'Ohhhhh, I don't know ... I don't know.'

"He didn't know how to answer the question and yet he'll talk about the United States very badly."

Kerr, never one to shy away from what he perceives as social injustices or missteps by Trump, surprisingly had little to say after China's reaction to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's support for Hong Kong protesters turned into an international war with the NBA.

"It's a really bizarre international story and a lot of us don't know what to make of it," Kerr said Monday night. "It's something I'm reading about, just like everybody is. But I'm not going to comment further than that."

That wasn't good enough for Trump, who also took time to criticize Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, another of the president's frequent antagonists.

"I watched Popovich, sort of the same thing, but he didn't look quite as scared (as Kerr), actually," Trump said. "But they talk badly about the United States but when (they) talk about China, they don't want to say anything bad.

"I thought it was pretty sad, actually."

Trump, who was holding a press conference at the White House on his ongoing trade talks with China, also chose to stay out of the NBA's debate with China, telling reporters, "They have to work out their own situation."

Trump's comments about Kerr came after the Warriors finished practice in San Francisco, so reporters didn't have an immediate opportunity to get the coach's reaction.

Steph Curry, also a frequent Trump critic, was available to the media after the president spoke. He welcomed Kerr to the club of those attacked by Trump, then gave a similarly political answer on the Hong Kong protest:

"This situation – there's a huge weight and gravity to it," he said. "There's going to need to be some things to be sorted out. I just don't know enough about Chinese history and how that's influenced modern society today and that interaction to speak on it, so that's just where we're at. I'm sure it's not just going away."

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments