U.S. President Barack Obama holds up a team jersey as he hosts the 2013 NBA champions Miami Heat in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Photo by Larry Downing, Reuters.
President Barack Obama welcomed the Miami Heat to the White House on Tuesday for the second year in a row.
The team won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship in 2013 by beating the San Antonio Spurs 4-3 in the best-of seven Finals.
"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. Welcome to the White House. Actually, for these guys, it is welcome back to the White House after being back-to-back world champions, the Miami Heat," Obama said in his opening remarks.
Obama, an avid Chicago Bulls fan who is never shy about shouting his team's praises, was on his game Tuesday.
"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."
Heat players Chris Bosch and Ray Allen presented Obama with a team jersey which had the acronym "POTUS" (President of the United States) on the back.
Lebron James, the sport's biggest star playing at the peak of his powers, dominated the decisive seventh game of an epic series through a combination of athleticism, pinpoint shooting and sheer force of will.
James averaged 25.3 points during the Finals and joined Michael Jordan and Bill Russell as the only players to win the regular season and Finals MVP awards two years running.
The Bulls are currently seven and a half games back of the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Southeast Division and look to figure strongly once again in the NBA playoff picture.