For the second consecutive year, the Miami Heat were honored with a visit to the White House after winning the NBA championship.
Even though the team has been there before, there was no shortage of excitement on Tuesday, according to Heat guard Dwyane Wade:
Wade: Whenever you go to the White House, it’s special. I don’t care how many times you’ve been. It’s an unbelievable moment & great honor.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 13, 2014
Head coach Erik Spoelstra also had perspective on the second visit:
Spo: “It’s exciting. When you have an opportunity to visit the White House and spend some time with the President...— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 13, 2014
Spo: "...you realize a lot of people don’t have this chance in their lifetime. It’s a continued celebration of what we did last year.”— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 13, 2014
This video offers some footage of the event:
Heat beat writer Joseph Goodman captured this photo of the team entering the room:
Heat enters East Room of White House. pic.twitter.com/fXDyuwgmIr— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) January 14, 2014
Here is a closer look at the entire team and coaching staff along with President Barack Obama at the presentation, courtesy of the team's Instagram account:
Of course, the president did not pull punches in regards to the team and its fanbase, as Goodman captured this quote:
Obama: “Let’s hurry up and take this picture before someone starts yelling at Mario.”— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) January 14, 2014
Obama to Chalmers away from the mic: “You and me. I got your back.”— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) January 14, 2014
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News also made this joke about a hypothetical way the president could have opened things up:
President Obama opened his speech by telling Miami media "why don't you make like the Heat fans in the last 2 minutes of Game 6 and leave."— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) January 14, 2014
The fun continued with some interesting remarks about the Heat and himself, courtesy of Bleacher Report's Ethan J. Skolnick and CBS' Mark Knoller:
Obama: "We've got members of both parties. Because we know nothing brings people together like the Miami Heat."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) January 14, 2014
"I can relate to that," says Pres Obama of what he described as Miami Heat "still fighting for some respect."— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) January 14, 2014
As a Chicago native, though, Obama is obviously more fond of his own Chicago Bulls, leading to this remark, via John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal:
Pres. Obama praises the Heat for their winning streak last year…and then adds “almost as impressive as the Bulls 72-win season."— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) January 14, 2014
Goodman noted that King James was a little bit dressed down for the formal event:
LeBron went without a tie for the White House.— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) January 14, 2014
The Heat's famous Big 3, James, Bosh and Wade, took a moment to pose for this picture:
Spoelstra then presented a custom-made trophy to President Obama, featuring marks for every win and a "44" on it to honor him. Skolnick provided a close-up view of the trophy:
Better shot of the trophy the Heat are giving the President. That's 44 Barack Obama in middle. pic.twitter.com/e0bWXzpPsU— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) January 14, 2014
Altogether, this was a fun day in the middle of the season for a team that deserves the honor, and as shown by this photo, the Heat were all smiles:
Miami earned this opportunity to go to the White House after winning the 2013 NBA Finals in seven games over the San Antonio Spurs last summer.
Miami is currently 27-10 this season, second in the Eastern Conference behind the 29-7 Indiana Pacers. It would not be a surprise to see the Heat make a fourth consecutive Finals appearance this season as they aim for their third straight title.
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