WASHINGTON –The 2013 NBA champion Miami Heat players made their second consecutive appearance at the White House Tuesday. Jersey-wearing kids, politicians and members of the military shouted “welcome back” to the players as they entered the East Room.
President Barack Obama also welcomed the team back, joking about how excited power forward Lebron James had been at his first White House visit a year ago after the Heat won the 2012 championship. In honoring the Heat for winning the 2013 championship, Obama also commended Ray Allen’s shot that sent game six of last year’s finals into overtime as “one of the most iconic shots.”
The Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs in seven games to win their third NBA championship.
“Nothing brings people together like the Miami Heat,” the president joked.
When Coach Erik Spoelstra presented an autographed trophy to Obama–a longtime Chicago
Bulls fan–the president said the team was winning him over.
“We wish them great luck for the rest of the season unless they’re playing against the Bulls,” he said.
Obama showed his basketball knowledge as photographers took pictures of the team and the president.
“We need to hurry up and take this picture before everyone starts yelling at Mario,” Obama said, referencing the team’s playful badgering of point guard Mario Chalmers.
The Heat players have shown heart on and off the court, Obama said, acknowledging their charity work with Wounded Warriors, which provides programs and services to severely injured service members. Heat players visited wounded service members at a local military hospital before attending the White House event.
The Heat rank second in the Eastern Conference with 27 wins and 10 loses. They will play the Washington Wizards Wednesday night.