Obama welcomes Heat back to the White House

Jan. 14, 2014 at 4:29 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The Miami Heat made a return trip to the White House Tuesday, their visit with President Obama a reward for their second straight world championship.

Obama, a Chicago Bulls fan, said it was "wonderful to see them back."

"We've got some outstanding members of Congress who are big fans of the Heat," the president said. "They're from both parties -- because we all know nothing brings people together like the Miami Heat. Across the NBA there's just a unifying sense about the Heat."

But Obama said that even though the team has won back-to-back titles and has been to the finals three times "sometimes it feels like they're still fighting for a little respect."

"I can relate to that," the president said to laughter from his audience.

Obama said the Heat "showed us the kind of heart and determination it takes to be a champion."

He went on to say the team also showed it's heard off the court, raising nearly $2 million for local charities and spending time visiting wounded veterans throughout the year.

"So bottom line is, outstanding athletes, outstanding organization, outstanding team, but also outstanding members of their community," Obama said. "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."

Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said the White House visit "is a great honor for the entire Miami Heat family."

"It never gets old," he said.

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