2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers Honored At The White House

Ford Springer | Contributor

President Obama welcomed the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers at the the White House Thursday afternoon to recognize their historic NBA championship.

The president and the team gathered on the South Lawn of the White House, where Obama honored them before the press and some distinguished Cavaliers fans, including Ohio Governor John Kasich.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden pose for photos with members of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden pose for photos with members of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

As he usually does at these sort of events, President Obama delivered a few jokes, poking fun at many of the players and reflecting on the team’s championship season.

“Give it up for the World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers,” Obama said standing at the podium before the team. “That’s right I said World Champion and Cleveland in the same sentence… That’s what we talk about when we talk about hope and change.”

The Cavaliers came back after trailing 3 games to 1 against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, something that’s never been done in the history of the league.

“The first team in history to dig themselves out of a hole like that,” Obama said. “And, I should add that by knocking off the Warriors they cemented the 1996 Bulls as the greatest team of all time. So your president thanks you for that.”

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James stands with teammates during an event with the 2016 NBA Championship Cleveland Cavaliers at the White House. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James stands with teammates during an event with the 2016 NBA Championship Cleveland Cavaliers at the White House. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama praised the team and Coach Tyron Lue for their excellence in basketball before recognizing their contributions off the court.

“These Cavs exemplify a growing generation of athletes that are using their platforms to speak out. We’ve seen Kevin on combating campus sexual assault. LeBron on issues like gun violence and working with Michele to help more kids go to school, go to college. His foundation is doing something incredible–paying college tuition for 1,100 kids from Akron.”

Obama also recognized the Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert for his work with the team and his charitable efforts in his hometown of Detroit. He then went on to praise the NBA as an organization, calling it “a model for positive change.”

At the conclusion of Obama’s remarks, Kevin Love presented him with a #16 Cleveland Cavaliers jersey with his name on the back. The President and Vice President Joe Biden then posed for a photo with the team, but they had to get the podium out of the way for the photo opportunity.

President Barack Obama is presented with a jersey by Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama is presented with a jersey by Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Why don’t we strike the podium here so we can get a better picture?” Obama said. “Team? Come on up. See I got a good team too,” the President said turning to the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers will play the Washington Wizards Friday at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C..

Ford Springer

Contributor

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