Miami Honored by President Barack Obama in White House Ceremony

2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat attended a White House celebration

Miami's kings of the hardcourt were honored at the White House by President Obama on Monday for winning the 2012 NBA Championship title after falling short just a year before.

"Today, I am honored to welcome a little up-and-coming basketball team to the White House, called the world champion Miami Heat," Obama said. "For many teams to come here, this is a lot of cameras in one place. This is a little overwhelming, but for the Heat, this is what practice looks like. This is normal."

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade
and the rest of the team were part of the 1:30 p.m. ceremony.

"Everybody doing their part, is what finally put the Heat over the top," Obama said.

Obama said a few of the players had previously visited him for a pick-up game on his birthday.

"Now, I'm not trying to take all the credit ..., but I think that its clear that going up against me prepared them to take on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook," Obama said.

The Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the NBA Finals last June.

The president also recognized the franchise's work off the court. He thanked them for supporting military service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Obama said one of the things he's proudest off is that many of the team members— including LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade— "take their roles as fathers seriously."

"For all the young men out there who are looking up to them over time, for them to see somebody who cares about their kids and is there for them, day in, day out, that's a good message to send," Obama said.

"This team inspired a lot of passions on both sides, and I am just talking about their dance moves now," Obama said.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team hopefully will serve as an inspiration to the nation of what can be done "when you come together and sacrifice your egos for a greater goal" and "hard-hat work ethic."

LeBron James came up to podium and gave Obama an autographed basketball and asked the president if he could say something.

"You can if you want. It's your world man," said Obama.

James thanked Obama and ended his comments by saying: "We're in the White House right now, which is like, like 'mama I made it,'" James said, as the audience laughed and cheered.

Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade presented Obama with a team jersey with a president's last name and the number 44 on the back.

The crowd of well-wishers included actress Gabrielle Union, U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The Heat last visited the White House after winning the 2006 title.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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