Tuesday, President Barack Obama welcomed the Miami Heat, the 2013 NBA Champions, to the White House for the second year running. “I have to say, I’ve never seen folks more excited than the Heat when they came last year,” he said.
Obama drew laughs when commenting on the country’s perception of the team: “We all know nothing brings people together like the Miami Heat. Across the NBA there’s just a unifying sense about the Heat.” Obama said he could relate to the fact that “sometimes it feels like they’re still fighting for a little respect.”
The president was sure to stay true to his Chicago heritage. After referencing the Heat’s great season with a team-record 66 wins, he noted that it was “almost as impressive as the Bulls’ 72-win season.”
“And from Ray’s big shot to the contributions of Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, Birdman, Birdman’s tattoos — Birdman’s mohawk — the Heat showed us the kind of heart and determination it takes to be a champion,” Obama said. He also acknowledged the team’s commitment to service, raising millions for charity and serving wounded warriors.
The Heat presented a trophy inscribed with a “44” and the president’s name. Obama responded, “You know, you guys are winning me over a little bit.”