Obama Welcomes Miami Heat to the White House
President Obama welcomed the Miami Heat to the White House on Monday afternoon to honor the team for kicking everyone's ass in the 2012 NBA Finals.
Obama cited a pickup game some of the members of the Heat participated in with the president on his birthday as the real reason the Heat were able to go all the way last season.
"Now, I'm not trying to take all the credit, Coach," Obama said to Erik Spoelstra, "but I think that it's clear that going up against me prepared them to take on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It sharpened their skills. It gave them the competitive edge that they needed. And I think part of the reason they came back today is they want another shot at the old guy."
The ceremony had everything you'd expect from the Heat: laughter, fun, guys screwing with Mario Chalmers, the president reminding everyone that Mike Miller played half-dead, and a Chris Bosh photobomb.
Obama also told LeBron that it's his world. Because, of course it is.
Also, we're pretty sure Obama doesn't know Erik Spoelstra's name (video below).
Obama came strong with the jokes (pfft, Bulls fan).
The president teased Mike Miller, noting that he "could barely walk" during the playoffs (or, as we put it, walked around like his balls were stapled to his thighs). He called Juwan Howard "grandpa" and told reporters that Chalmers had "earned a nickname from Dwyane Wade that I'm not allowed to repeat."
Oh we know, Mr. President. We know very well.
The team then presented Obama with a number-44 jersey.
"Am I supposed to say something?" LeBron asked before presenting the president with his jersey.
"You can if you want," Obama replied. "It's your world, man."
LeBron then had himself a Hey, Mama, I Made It! moment as he walked up to the mic.
"On behalf of myself and my teammates," James said, "we just want to thank you for the hospitality, for allowing us to be, I mean, in the White House. I mean, we're in the White House! I mean, we're kids from Chicago and Dallas, Texas, and Michigan and Ohio and South Dakota -- Miami. And we're in the White House right now. This is like, 'Hey, Mama, I made it!'"
Wade then stepped up and tried to recruit Obama to be a member of the Heat.
"All I've got to say is we've got a ten-day contract left," he said. "Pick my man up," Wade then said, referring to the president.
"You guys could use a shooter," Obama replied to laughter.
"My point guard," Wade said.
"Thank you," the president replied.
All the while, Chalmers was forced to watch the entire conversation unfold.
Obama also took time to honor the Big Three as fathers and role models.
"I don't know all these guys," he said. "But I do know LeBron and Dwyane and Chris. And one of the things I'm proudest of is that they take their roles as fathers seriously. And for all the young men out there who are looking up to them all the time, for them to see somebody who cares about their kids and is there for them day in and day out, that's a good message to send. It's a positive message to send, and we're very proud of them for that."