Obama is continuing his tradition of hosting the NBA champions at the White House, and will be spending part of his day honoring the Heat players’ accomplishments both on and off the court.
Here is some footage of President Obama with the Heat.
This prestigious event started at 1:40 p.m. ET. According to David Jackson of USA Today, the defending champs will be recognized for their basketball achievement as well as their “ongoing support to the men and women who serve in our military and their families.”
In return, the Heat presented the second-term president with a custom home No. 44 jersey.
However, it wasn't all serious business. As per BuzzFeed, Obama ribbed some of the players immediately:
Dwyane Wade personally handed President Obama his No. 44 Miami Heat jersey, who was also holding an autographed basketball.
The 44th president acknowledged LBJ’s dominance of the NBA and superstar persona with a great quip (via BuzzFeed):
Obama to LeBron: "It's your world, man."— BuzzFeed Sports (@BuzzFeedSports) January 28, 2013
Coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged this prior to the visit, according to the Associated Press (via NBA.com):
It's the pinnacle of the things that we've been able to experience together. Thankfully, we have the majority of the team back. I think it's a great experience and a culmination of that year for our organization.
New faces, such as Ray Allen (who was a member of a Boston Celtics team that pushed the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals) and the recently signed Chris Andersen, were also present for this distinguished opportunity.
Birdman and Obama shaking hands. This is America. twitter.com/BuzzFeedSports…— BuzzFeed Sports (@BuzzFeedSports) January 28, 2013
This meeting had to be especially sweet for James, who has had the opportunity to play with Obama before, but wasn’t able to meet him as an NBA champion until Monday.
At the halfway mark of the 2012-13 season, the Miami Heat are sitting at 28-13 and currently atop the standings in the East. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this core group make a return trip to visit President Obama next winter.