NEW YORK -- The Miami Heat will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday, where the President will congratulate the team on its 2012-13 NBA championship.
It’s the team’s second consecutive visit to the White House. Last year, the President celebrated the Heat’s 2011-12 championship. Highlights of last year’s visit to the White House included Dwyane Wade’s flashy shoes and Obama telling James, “It’s your world, man.”
“It’s an incredible honor and a privilege,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re able to do it with our Heat family and then also bring in some of our family. It’s a culmination of all that hard work to be able to celebrate it again in the highest house.”
The team will also visit with wounded warriors from the Walter Reed Military Medical Center while at the White House.
“It really isn’t about us receiving, it’s about us really being privileged to have this profession that we have and to be able to give back,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve always, obviously with coach [ Pat] Riley initiative, to give back to the military and at least show our appreciation from the NBA for everything they do. It’s a small gesture. It’s the least we can do, but it is important to us.”
Riley was unable to make the trip to the White House last year due to flulike symptoms. Chris Bosh said the trip will be more of a routine this year, but that “it will always be a big deal because it’s part of a championship.”
“That never gets old, but once you’ve done something before, it’s more routine after that,” Bosh said. “But it’s a great honor and a privilege to do it, and I don’t think anyone on this team takes it for granted because we could not be going to the White House, and you know what that means.”
Bosh said he doesn’t have much planned for this year’s White House visit, because there apparently isn’t much flexibility with the schedule.
“There’s not much you can do,” Bosh said. “It’s pretty much cut and paste and that’s really it. You’re not really going to be able to venture out and do much. It’s heavily secured and there’s a schedule that you have to follow.”
As for asking Obama any questions, Bosh said he’s probably just going to shake the President’s hand.
“You only get two seconds and then he’s moving on,” Bosh said. “So, you got to make it quick if you want to ask him something. I just shake his hand and say ‘what’s up.’ You’re going to get a politically correct answer anyways. It’s the President.”
Shane Battier, on the other hand, is hoping for a spirited conversation with Obama.
“I’m going to let it be organic and natural,” Battier said. “Those are the best encounters.”
Battier was reminded after Thursday morning’s shootaround in New York that he is now old enough to run for President.
“That’s a scary thought,” Battier said. “I weep for America.”