January 14th, 2014
04:40 PM ET
6 months ago

Obama gives Miami Heat a White House welcome

Washington (CNN) - Armed with one liners, a few digs, and a broad smile, President Barack Obama welcomed the 2013 NBA Champions, the Miami Heat, to the White House Tuesday afternoon, and congratulated them on winning the world championship for a second year in a row.

"Last season the Heat put together one of the most dominating regular seasons ever by a defending champion," said the President, flanked by the team's players, coaches and owners.

"They won a team record 66 games," he continued. "At one point they won 27 games straight–the second longest winning streak ever. Extraordinarily Impressive."

Then came the zinger: "Almost as impressive as the Bulls' 72-win season."

Obama has long made it known that his favorite team is his hometown Chicago Bulls.

The President also mentioned Heat members by name, pointing out each player's strengths and mentioning a few quirks and game stats.

"One of the cool things about this job is welcoming championship sports teams from across the sporting world to the White House. And usually people enjoy coming to the White House. I have to say I've never seen folks more excited than the Heat when they came last year. I mean, Lebron [James] was so pumped up, I thought he was going to give me a hug and knock me over like the guy in 'SportsCenter' who hit the half-court shot," Obama joked.

When pointing out that members of Congress from both parties were in the audience, Obama took a jab at the partisan rancor in Washington, without actually mentioning it.

"We've got some outstanding members of Congress who are big fans of the Heat. They're from both parties. Because we all know nothing brings people together like the Miami Heat," he said.

The President thanked some of the players for contributing to First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign called "Let's Move." She also met with some of the team members Tuesday.

"We grabbed @KingJames, @DwyaneWade, @ChrisBosh, and @RayAllen to help spread the word about eating healthy and drinking water. #LetsMove #DrinkUp," she wrote on Instagram.

Obama also mentioned that the team spent part of the day with wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Center, and pointed out that some wounded warriors were in the audience. He also thanked the team for their continued commitment to veterans.

At the end of the ceremony, Coach Erik Spoelstra handed Obama a black statuette with a black basketball on the top. It included all the games, team members' names, and the President's name in the middle in large lettering.

The coach then handed Obama an honorary team jersey with the word "POTUS" and the number "44," signifying his title – President of the United States, and the fact that he is the 44th president.

Obama smiled and said, "You guys are winning me over a little bit. Getting there."

The President then posed for pictures, and shook hands with seated guests. And despite his 6'1" frame, he at times seemed dwarfed by the very tall team.


Filed under: Basketball • President Obama • White House
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Long

    "He also thanked the team for their continued commitment to veterans." -CNN
    At least the Miami Heat Organization is committed to our veterans.
    Obama would rather:
    - let Veteran benefits get eliminated while tax credits for criminal immigrants stayed
    - keep Veterans away from memorials during the 2013 Obama Government Shutdown, while criminal immigrants were allowed to protest US Law in the "closed" National Mall in DC.

    January 14, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. ProudDem

    Uh oh...release the hounds on Obama bashing for "wasting time" doing something every President does.

    January 14, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Affirmative action should be enforced in the NBA. Every team should be required to have a minimun of 3 white guys. It is only fair to level the playing field.

    January 14, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. wendel

    Nice to see a story without all the bashing.

    January 14, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Our President looks sooo happy! He's beaming! Yayy!
    Congrats to the Heat but I don't follow basketball.

    Expat American

    Gray is such a crook. DC was only beginning to move forward towards respectability under Fenty. Gray and Barry are cut from the same cloth
    -------------------------------------------------
    Good to have you back amongst us Expat, and you're right.
    I live in Maryland and DC was indeed beginning to flourish under Fenty.
    Gray came in under a cloud of controversy regarding, among other things, jobs promised to folks if they smeared his opponents.

    January 14, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. The REAL Truth...

    @Long – Obama would rather:
    - let Veteran benefits get eliminated while tax credits for criminal immigrants stayed
    - keep Veterans away from memorials during the 2013 Obama Government Shutdown, while criminal immigrants were allowed to protest US Law in the "closed" National Mall in DC.
    ---------------------------------
    Yet another example of an uninformed RWNJ sycophant lemming.... those items have nothing to do with the POTUS or the WH... Congressional appropriations bills fund Vets benefits, and I don't recall seeing Obama in front of any of the Memorials during the GOP created Federal shutdown. But I do recall seeing certain Republican/TP'ers grandstanding in front of the barriers and harassing Federal employees trying to do the job they were instructed to do. Yawn....

    January 14, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Anonymous

    Affirmative action should be enforced in the NBA. Every team should be required to have a minimun of 3 white guys. It is only fair to level the playing field
    -------------------------------------------------
    Yes but look how fabulously happy those players look taking this picture with a President that looks just like them!
    Who would've thunk it, huh?
    And remember you always have hockey.
    Live long and prosper babe.

    January 14, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    @anonymous–Have a nice Martin Luther King Day. It's Monday. I understand some southern states will be celebrating Robert E Lees birthday that day. Why not go join them. You will be happier.

    January 14, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. bill

    let them know YOU CAN KEEP YOUR INSURANCE.

    January 14, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. tom l

    Affirmative action should be enforced in the NBA. Every team should be required to have a minimun of 3 white guys. It is only fair to level the playing field
    -----------------
    Yes but look how fabulously happy those players look taking this picture with a President that looks just like them!
    Who would've thunk it, huh?
    And remember you always have hockey.
    Live long and prosper babe

    =======

    I had no idea Lebron looked like Obama. You are so focused on skin pigmentation. Wow. When they were talking about Obama and his uncle you made the same comment that Obama must have felt comfortable being around someone that looked like him. Have you seen his uncle? They look absolutely nothing alike. Except, of course, to you. Because apparently skin pigmentation is so important. So sad that you think they are fabulously happy solely based on appearance and ethnicity. To me, that's the definition of racism.

    January 14, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. tom l

    Affirmative action should be enforced in the NBA. Every team should be required to have a minimun of 3 white guys. It is only fair to level the playing field
    -----–
    Yes but look how fabulously happy those players look taking this picture with a President that looks just like them!
    Who would've thunk it, huh?
    And remember you always have hockey.
    Live long and prosper babe

    =======

    I had no idea Lebron looked like Obama. You are so focused on skin pigmentation. Wow. When they were talking about Obama and his uncle you made the same comment that Obama must have felt comfortable being around someone that looked like him. Have you seen his uncle? They look absolutely nothing alike. Except, of course, to you. Because apparently skin pigmentation is so important. So sad that you think they are fabulously happy solely based on appearance and ethnicity. To me, that's the definition of racism.

    ====

    I totally forgot to mention that you must think, based on your logic, that Mike Miller and Chris Anderson must have felt awful and angry. I mean, they don't "look" like Obama so they must not be fabulously happy.

    January 14, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. don in albuquerque

    @tom I===If you work reaaaaallllly hard at it, you might make a point here. But I doubt it. Your own issues just came shining through.

    January 14, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. just asking

    they look like a bunch of very overpaid millionaires that should be submitting 75% of their wages to the federal government. it is only fair. they only play a game. the money should go to pay for the unemployed and hungry in the inner cities. i'm sure they would gladly give up that much for the cause.

    January 14, 2014 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    So sad that you think they are fabulously happy solely based on appearance and ethnicity
    -------------------------------------------------
    The nuance of that line escapes you. It is to be expected. We're all familiar with your posts.
    However let me submit this to you: What is sad is that you are unable to recognize that it is indeed a hisotrical moment in these Black men's lives to be able to take this picture with the country's first Black President.
    Even you should know tom l that we just don't know when that's going to happen again in our country.
    So yeah, it makes it special.

    January 14, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  15. Smitty

    What about that jobs pivot Obammy ???? Does this pres do anything but party ????

    January 14, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  16. Lionel

    GOP / Tea Party trolls are at it again. Can we not we happy for once and enjoy this.

    The reason I would never vote for the GOP again is that while not all GOP are racist, all racist are in the GOP camp right now and that is very scary. They will not be in the white house for a long time if the party don't stand up to these guys.

    January 14, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. kw4life

    Cool ceremony. It's nice that the Heat got recognized for their efforts from last season. Would be cool if they did a three-peat this season.

    January 14, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  18. w l jones

    The team look like American! rain.....bo!!

    January 14, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. Jerry

    Obama – Liar of the Century
    THIS is why Obama ran for President. It is all about him. It is all about the celebrity events. The real work? He really isn't that interested
    ----------------------------------------------–
    You do realise that it has become a tradition for the president in office to have teams that have won championships at the white house right??????

    January 14, 2014 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. Kelvin R. Stemplemeister

    @Anonymous
    Affirmative action should be enforced in the NBA. Every team should be required to have a minimun of 3 white guys. It is only fair to level the playing field.

    you is right on. think of the smurt and talunted wite guys like me an Rick and Just Sayin and Just Askin and Ray E.and Tom L that could haved beeen real baskutball starz but for dem colorrds!

    January 14, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  21. Wes

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Anonymous

    Affirmative action should be enforced in the NBA. Every team should be required to have a minimun of 3 white guys. It is only fair to level the playing field
    -----------------
    Yes but look how fabulously happy those players look taking this picture with a President that looks just like them!
    Who would've thunk it, huh?
    And remember you always have hockey.
    Live long and prosper babe.
    -------------------------------------
    I guess that explains why 93% of the people 'who look like obama' voted for him. Nothing to do with substance, everything to do with skin color. Yes, racism is alive and well in America.

    January 14, 2014 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    @long, your teaklans ran on and finally shut down the government. You people are really dense, aren't you?
    They are the same ones trying to lower veteran benefit
    Michelle Obama and Mrs. Biden have been working with veterans and their families since day one.
    @Obama, liar . . . . . yes, because our President is the ONLY one to invite winning teams to the White House. I seem to remember the village brainless from Texas trying to bounce a basketball a few years back and failing miserably. At least Obama can hang with these guys!

    January 15, 2014 06:26 am at 6:26 am |