The Louisville Cardinals defeated the Michigan Wolverines to capture the men's college basketball championship in April. One of the perks of their triumph was a trip to the White House, which took place on Tuesday:
Before March Madness began, President Obama correctly predicted Louisville would reach the national title game, but he picked his hometown-favorite Indiana Hoosiers to defeat the Cardinals for the championship. The Hoosiers were knocked out by Syracuse in the Sweet 16.
Despite the bracket snub, the Cardinals also presented President Obama with an autographed basketball—signed by Peyton Siva en route to Washington—and a Louisville Slugger baseball bat:
Peyton Siva signing a championship ball to present to President Obama today pic.twitter.com/3W6h55WUP3— Kenny Klein (@KKcards) July 23, 2013
Once the team arrived to the White House and the players started taking in their surroundings, Siva sent out an Instagram photo of his best John F. Kennedy impression:
Apparently, not all of the Cardinals found the trip as exciting as the star guard, though. Gorgui Dieng caught Chane Behanan catching up on some sleep while waiting on President Obama to arrive to begin the ceremony:
Chane is sleeping at the White House. Haha pic.twitter.com/Q73nNCvZxj— Gorgui Dieng (@GorguiDieng) July 23, 2013
It's been a busy couple of days for the Cardinals. On Monday they were awarded their championship rings, which were presented just in time for the White House trip. Add in the travel to Washington, and the forward must have needed some brief shuteye.
Here's a look at the ring each player now proudly owns:
Louisville MBB players receiving their championship rings today, just in time for the Cards' White House visit Tues pic.twitter.com/EsFwHS2yOd— Kenny Klein (@KKcards) July 22, 2013
The President wasn't the only Obama the players got a chance to meet while at the White House. Bo, the first family's Portuguese water dog, was also in attendance:
Once the President arrived, he greeted the Cardinals:
President Obama makes his way down the line to meet everyone pic.twitter.com/wAmcMBW0rY— Kenny Klein (@KKcards) July 23, 2013
He also gave a shout out to Kevin Ware, who helped provide inspiration to Louisville during the team's title run after suffering a gruesome injury:
Obama on Kevin Ware: That's the kind of resiliency this Cardinals team had.— Scott Gleeson (@ScottMGleeson) July 23, 2013
Dieng was also a topic of conversation after Obama visited Senegal, the center's home country, and said people there were excited about his success:
MBB: President Barack Obama says he visited Senegal and everyone was "excited about Mr. Dieng." Recounts the team's individual awards.— Louisville Athletics (@UofLsports) July 23, 2013
The President also mentioned the victories made by the team in the classroom, as well as on the basketball court:
Pres Obama also praised the Cardinals classroom work: saying that as a team they earned just under a 3.3 grade point average.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 23, 2013
All told, it was a memorable day for a memorable team.