President Obama Honors the 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat

President Obama Honors the 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat


The President:
Everybody, please have a seat. Have a seat. Welcome to the White House. Actually, for these guys, it is welcome back
to the White House — [applause] — after being back-to-back
world champions, the Miami Heat. Now, 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. [laughter] I mean, LeBron was so pumped up I thought he was going to
give me a hug and knock me over like the guy in the SportsCenter
who hit the half-court shot. But it was wonderful
to see them then. It is wonderful
to see them back. 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. [laughter and applause] Across the NBA there’s just
a unifying sense about the Heat. I want to congratulate
Coach Spoelstra for the outstanding
work that he does; legendary team
president, Pat Riley, for his outstanding leadership;
and all the coaches and players, members of the staff and crew
to make a championship season. This group has
won twice now, but it’s gone to
the finals three times. And sometimes it feels like
they’re still fighting for a little respect. I can relate to that. [laughter] Last season, the Heat put
together one of the most dominating regular seasons
ever by a defending champion. They won a team-record 66 games. At one point,
they won 27 games straight — the second-longest
winning streak ever, extraordinarily impressive — almost as impressive as
the Bulls’ 72-win season. [laughter] Riley and I were reminiscing
about those Knicks years. [laughter] But as these guys know,
winning a title is never easy. In the playoffs,
the Pacers put them through seven bruising games. In the finals, the Spurs showed
us all that they’ve got an awful lot of
life left in them, and one of the greatest
players of all time, and one of the greatest
coaches of all time. In fact,
San Antonio had the series all but wrapped up in game six. As you will recall,
Miami was down five points, less than 30 seconds to go. The last 122 times that
happened in the playoffs, the team that was
down lost 122 times. And then they brought
out the ropes. And then Ray Allen saw
them bring out the ropes. [laughter] And with five seconds left,
Chris Bosh gets an incredible offensive rebound,
passes it out to Ray; Ray is backing up,
he’s got to jump forward; hits one of the most
iconic shots of all time. And then he added a few
choice words about the ropes, which we cannot — [laughter] — which we cannot repeat here. But, Ray, I do want you to know
that when you say those things on the court, like, people
can read your lips, right? [laughter] You do understand that? Ray Allen: Yeah. The President:
Okay. All right. So the Heat won game six,
went on to win game seven, their third title
in eight seasons. LeBron James earned his second
straight Finals MVP to go along with four regular-season
MVPs in five years. Dwayne Wade,
warrior that he is, played through a
pair of injured knees, always came through
when it mattered. Chris Bosh was there
playing great defense, getting the rebound,
hitting a clutch shot. Everybody on this
team participated. And from Ray’s big shot to the
contributions of Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem,
Birdman, Birdman’s tattoos — [laughter] — Birdman’s mohawk — [laughter] — the Heat showed us the kind
of heart and determination it takes to be a champion. And they also showed what
heart means off the court. Last year, they raised close to
$2 million for local charities. Before this event, they met
with some of our amazing wounded warriors over at Walter Reed,
and we’re proud to have some of those wounded warriors here
in the audience here today. Honoring our troops — [applause] — honoring our troops isn’t
just something that they do when they come to the White House —
it’s something they do all year round with their
Heat Home Strong initiative. And Pat Riley I know has
been hugely invested in this, and we talked a
little bit about this — his incredible admiration for
our men and women in uniform, but more concretely his
willingness to do something about how we support
them I think is a credit to the entire organization. On top of that, Coach
Spoelstra serves as a member of the NBA Fit team
to encourage healthy habits among young people. I know Michelle is thankful for
the support that many of these players have given to her
Let’s Move initiative. I heard that all
of you are getting ready to embarrass yourselves
by singing some karaoke for Shane’s
education foundation. [laughter and applause] Just leave Al Green
to the pros, people. [laughter] So bottom line is,
outstanding athletes, outstanding organization,
outstanding team, but also outstanding
members of their community. And so we’re very proud
to have them back. We wish them great luck
for the rest of the season, unless they’re
playing the Bulls. [laughter] And with that, I think
we should take a picture, but we should make it quick
before one of these guys starts yelling at Mario. [laughter and applause] I mean, sometimes it’s
just a bad pass, guys. It’s not Mario’s fault. [laughter] I got your back, man. Coach Spoelstra:
Well, this is a great
honor for the entire Miami Heat family. It does not get old. And what this is, is we put this
together before the playoff run last year, and it was a covenant
between all of us that we signed that we would commit
to each other — all the way to the end. The President:
This is outstanding. Coach Spoelstra:
So we have marks for each win, and it signified each
player would mark the win for that game, and the
final one was the team one. So this one right
here, you can see “44” and your name right there. The President:
There you go. It was added to it. You know, you guys are
winning me over a little bit. [laughter] Coach Spoelstra:
Getting there. Getting there. We promise we’ll put together
another one for you and let you mark it this year. [laughter] The President:
Congratulations. [applause]

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