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NC State basketball: 1983 NCAA champions finally visit White House

'Cardiac Pack' gets its due after being denied a trip to visit Reagan.

By The Sports Xchange
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U.S. President Barack Obama receives a jersey from Thurl Bailey (L) after greeting former players and staff of the 1983 NCAA National Basketball Championship North Carolina State Wolfpack in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on May 9, 2016. The President and Vice President met briefly with members of the team and their families in the East Room. The team was previously unable to visit the White House to be recognized for their championship. Pool Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/346cccf2ca02fce19ffd5a6d88359658/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
U.S. President Barack Obama receives a jersey from Thurl Bailey (L) after greeting former players and staff of the 1983 NCAA National Basketball Championship North Carolina State Wolfpack in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on May 9, 2016. The President and Vice President met briefly with members of the team and their families in the East Room. The team was previously unable to visit the White House to be recognized for their championship. Pool Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo

North Carolina State recorded one of the most surprising upsets in NCAA history in 1983 when the Wolfpack beat the Houston Cougars on a last-second tip-in at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M.

On Monday, 33 years later, surviving members of that championship team – known as the "Cardiac Pack" for their close games and come-from behind victories – were honored at the White House by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

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"This is my cohort. This is my peer group," Obama told the team. He said he recalled the 54-52 victory as "one of the greatest college games of all time."

Lorenzo Charles' buzzer-beating tip sent iconic coach Jim Valvano searching for someone to hug in celebration as the Wolfpack pulled off the upset of the No. 1 Cougars, who featured Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.

Both Valvano and Charles have died -- Valvano in 1993 and Charles in 2011. Valvano did visit then-president Ronald Reagan.

The North Carolina State athletic department refused to pay the bus fare for players to go to Washington. Other offers were deemed to be NCAA violations, hence, the team never got its due.

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Thurl Bailey, who went on to have a successful NBA career, presented the president with a red team jersey emblazoned with Obama's name and the No. 1 on the back.

It was Bailey who brokered the visit along with Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

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