President Obama Welcomes the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat

President Obama Welcomes the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat


The President:
Well, today I am honored to
welcome a little up-and-coming basketball team — (laughter) — to the White House called
the world champion Miami Heat. (applause) Now, for many of teams that
come here, this is a lot of cameras in one place. It’s a little overwhelming. (laughter) But for the Heat, this is
what practice looks like. (laughter) This is normal. I know this is the first trip
for some of these players, but a few of them were here
a couple of years ago for a pickup game on my birthday. Now, I’m not trying to take all
the credit, Coach, but I think that it’s clear that going
up against me prepared them to take on Kevin Durant
and Russell Westbrook. (laughter) 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. (laughter) But first, I have to
congratulate the Heat on their well-earned title. This team traveled a long
road to get to where they are. In 2011, the Heat got all
the way to the finals only to come up short. But when you fall, the real
test is whether you can ignore the naysayers, pick yourself
up and come back stronger. And that’s true in basketball,
but it’s also true in life. That’s exactly what
these guys did. Instead of getting
down, they got better. Dwayne Wade worked on his core. LeBron learned some
post moves from Hakeem. Shane Battier came on board. They became a more
complete team. They got to know each
other better and trust each other more. And they became
more fun to watch. In Game Four against the Thunder
last year, we saw LeBron carried off the floor with cramps, only
to come back a few minutes later and hit a dagger of a
three-pointer to put the Heat ahead. During Game Six, we saw him
pull off one of the greatest performances in basketball
playoff history, dropping 45 points — and he had
a scary look in his eye. (laughter) We saw Dwayne Wade, the heart
and soul of this team, continue to do whatever it takes to
win, including leading the team in blocks. And at the post-game press
conferences, he dressed well enough to land himself
in GQ magazine. (laughter) Show them your
kicks here, Dwayne. (laughter) If any of you can pull
this off — (laughter) — other than Dwayne
Wade, let me know. We saw Chris Bosh get injured,
but get healthy right at the perfect time and do
outstanding work throughout the rest of the playoffs. And it wasn’t just
the Big Three. Mike Miller could barely walk. Mike, you look better now. (laughter) You looked broke down
last year — (laughter) — but still hit seven
three-pointers in the final game. I don’t know how he did it
because he could not walk. He looked like an old man. Mario Chalmers earned himself a
nickname from Dwayne Wade that I’m not allowed to repeat. (laughter) But he did a great job. Shane Battier, as always,
played impeccable defense, hit big threes. Juwan Howard — “Grandpa” —
became the first member of the Fab Five to win a ring. And Coach continually set
the tone and kept these guys motivated the entire way. So that team mentality — with
everybody doing their part — is what finally put
the Heat over the top. And it’s especially impressive
when you think about everything they’ve had to deal with
over the last few years. This team inspired a lot
of passions on both sides. And I’m just talking
about their dance moves. (laughter) We saw that video, LeBron. (laughter) But even though I’m a little
disappointed that the Bulls didn’t make it, I do want to
congratulate the Heat for a well-earned championship. LeBron said, “It’s
about damn time.” And I want to thank them for
taking the time this afternoon to spend with wounded warriors
at Walter Reed, because you guys are heroes to them but they
are heroes to all of us. And let me just say one
last thing about these guys, and I mentioned this
as we were coming in. There’s a lot of focus on
what happens on the court, but what’s also important is
what happens off the court. And I don’t know all these guys,
but I do know LeBron and Dwayne 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. (applause) So congratulations,
again, to the Miami Heat. And now we are going to
take a picture that makes me look very short. (laughter) I’m accustomed to it, but
first I’m going to ask Coach to say a few words. (applause) Coach Spoelstra:
Well, on behalf of Micky Arison,
Pat Riley, the entire Miami Heat organization, and our families,
we want to thank you for your hospitality today to be
in the White House and also to be inspired by the
great men and women of the Walter Reed Hospital. We are honored and truly,
truly humbled to be here. We actually hope that this team
serves as an inspiration to the nation of what a group can
do when you come together and sacrifice your egos for a
greater goal; to come together with a real hard-hat work ethic,
and to be able to persevere through adversity and a whole
heck of a lot of criticism — (laughter) — and still be able to
accomplish the ultimate dream. The President:
Fantastic. Thank you so much. (applause) Mr. James:
Am I supposed to say something? The President:
You can if you want. It’s your world, man. (laughter) Mr. James:
On behalf of myself and my
teammates, we just want to thank you — to piggyback what
Spo said — for the hospitality, for allowing us to be, I
mean, in the White House. I mean, we’re in
the White House. (laughter) And Coach said — and the
Prez said this real casual. So I mean, we’re kids from
Chicago and Dallas, Texas and Michigan and Ohio
and South Dakota — (laughter) — Miami. And we’re in the
White House right now. This is like, hey,
mama, I made it. (laughter and applause) Mr. Wade:
All I’ve got to say is we’ve
got a 10-day contract left? The President:
Yes. Mr. Wade:
Pick my man up. (laughter) The President:
You guys could use a shooter. (laughter) Mr. Wade:
My point guard. (laughter) The President:
Thank you. (applause)

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