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James, Heat go to Washington for White House ceremony

The SportsXchange

President Obama honored the LeBron James and the 2012 NBA champion Miami Heat on Monday at the White House.

James, a big Obama supporter who has won an NBA title, Olympic gold medals and MVP awards, was excited. almost giddy, to be on the grand stage.

"I mean, we're in the White House," James said. "This is like, hey mama, I made it."

Also on hand for the ceremony were Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

It wasn't the first time that James and teammates Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier had met Obama. They played a pickup basketball game with the President in 2010 at Fort McNair near Washington for his 49th birthday.

"I think that it's clear that going up against me prepared them to take on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook," Obama said. "It sharpened their skills, gave them the competitive edge that they needed and I think part of the reason they came back is because they wanted another shot at the old guy."

The Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games last June in the NBA Finals to give James his first championship.

"This team traveled a long road to get to where they are," Obama said. "In 2011, the Heat got all the way to the Finals, only to come up short, but when you fall, the real test is whether you can ignore the naysayers, pick yourself up and comeback strong. That's true in basketball and that's true in life."

During the ceremony, Wade presented Obama with a No. 44 Heat jersey.

"All I got to say is: We got a 10-day contract left? Pick my man up," Wade said.
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