Fresh off their highlight-heavy Wednesday win over the Washington Wizards, the Golden State Warriors stuck around the nation's capital to celebrate their 2014-15 NBA championship. We'll let Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa tell us where they were going and what they were doing:
— Leandro Barbosa (@TheBlurBarbosa) February 4, 2016
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That's right — the Dubs visited the White House, getting suited and booted and ready to have their accomplishments lauded by noted basketball enthusiast President Barack Obama.
— NBA (@NBA) February 4, 2016
Abe Lincoln wondering who we are pic.twitter.com/nnFVLD3FKJ
Obama praised the Warriors for their work both on the court, where he called them beautiful to watch and so good it's almost not fair, and off it, citing their efforts in the NBA's partnership with his administration on the My Brother's Keeper mentoring initiative and in speaking out against gun violence, among other issues. And, as he's done throughout his time in office, Obama took the opportunity to lob a few zingers the way of the defending champs, having a bit of fun both with and at the expense of his guests from the West Coast. To wit:
• He expressed displeasure at the absence of the Internet's favorite daughter, Riley Curry:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 4, 2016
• "It is rare to be in the presence of guys from the greatest team in NBA history," Obama said, before the former Illinois senator dropped the hammer. "So we're pretty lucky today, because we've got one of those players in the house: [Warriors coach] Steve Kerr, from the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls!" (Don't look now, Mr. President, but the 45-4 Dubs are getting awfully close to turning fortune cookies into fact.)
• "Now, for those of you who don't know, the Warriors started the season without Coach Kerr, who was recovering from back surgery, so [assistant coach] Luke Walton stepped up and led the team to a ridiculous 39-4 record," Obama said.
"Unfortunately, the NBA won't let Luke count those wins as his own. Which, man, that doesn't seem fair. You defied the cynics, you accomplished big things, you racked up a great record, and you don't get enough credit. ... I can't imagine how that feels."
• "Let's face it: beautiful was not how folks described the Warriors for many years. I may be one of the few who are old enough to remember the last time they were good."
• "[Stephen Curry] is a pretty good shooter. Heh. For those of you watched the game against the Wizards last night, he was, to use slang, he was clowning."
"Just settle down, all right?"
The president called Klay Thompson's jumper "a little prettier" than Steph's and called out Draymond Green for being "known to add a few more words [to his trash talk] than I cannot repeat" before jokingly telling him to watch his mouth on the court, before settling into more serious and measured praise of the Warriors' unselfishness and focus on sharing the ball, the responsibility and the credit.
"The point is, this is a great basketball team, but it's [also] a great organization, a great culture and these are outstanding young men," Obama said. "They're the kind of people you want representing a city, representing the NBA and the kind of people you want our kids to be rooting for."
Not to be outdone when it was his turn at the podium, Kerr teed one up for the commander in chief.
"I want to say thank you. I also want to say congratulations for becoming the first president in our nation's great history to use the term 'clowning,'" Kerr joked. "Although maybe Teddy Roosevelt used it somewhere in there. I don't know."
And with that, Kerr gave America's 44th president the personalized jersey that has become associated with such trips, setting the stage for the 10-day contract we all expect to come once Obama has left the Oval Office:
The newest member of the Warriors pic.twitter.com/vN7euiyelo
— Tim Roye (@warriorsvox) February 4, 2016
— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) February 4, 2016
Whether the Warriors are able to finish this historic season with a record-setting 73 wins remains unclear, but one thing seems certain: if they're able to successfully defend their title and hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy once again this June, it's hard to imagine either them or whichever candidate wins this November's election having quite this much fun with next year's visit. A pretty strong NBA-champion-feting swan song, President Obama. Kudos.
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