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Trump says he'll consider inviting Raptors to White House

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Washington (AFP)

US President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will consider inviting the Toronto Raptors, the first Canadian team to win an NBA title, to the White House.

"If they'd like to do it, we'll think about that," Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"They played phenomenal basketball," the president said. "I watched a little bit of it. They were really terrific."

"We have a lot of other folks coming," Trump added in a reference to championship US sports teams visiting the presidential mansion.

The Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors by four games to two to become the first Canadian club to win a major North American sports title since the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays captured Major League Baseball's World Series.

Visits to the White House by championship-winning US sports teams have been controversial since Trump's 2016 election.

Most recently, the Puerto Rican manager of the Boston Red Sox, Alex Cora, refused to attend a White House reception by the World Series-winning team.

Boston's three African-American players -- 2018 American League Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts, pitcher David Price and centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr -- also skipped the event.

According to one tally, of the 20-odd teams that have won championships in professional or US college sports, half have not been invited to a White House reception or declined an invite, most notably the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018 and the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.

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