(WASHINGTON) — President Obama honored the Dallas Mavericks Monday for winning their first NBA championship with “a heart that’s the size of Texas.”
“These players got it done because they know how good teams win,” Obama said at a White House ceremony. “Not just by jumping higher or running faster, but by finding the open man, working together, staying mentally tough, being supportive of each other, playing smarter.”
“I just want to give a heartfelt congratulations to all of you. I told them that it’s too bad that next year it will be the Chicago Bulls here, but they said I shouldn’t be so confident,” said Obama, an avid fan of his hometown team.
The president singled out NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, noting that he played in the finals despite a badly injured finger and a high fever.
“So clearly Dirk is a tough guy. Although the most painful thing may have been his rendition of ‘We Are the Champions’ during the victory celebration,” the president joked.
Obama also praised the team for their work off the court.
“These players and coaches will always share a bond that comes with being the best. And it’s a bond they share with the Dallas community, where they do everything from setting up scholarships to helping military families get back on their feet,” he said. “So this team really does have a heart that’s the size of Texas.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Joshua Berlinger, CNN
Travis Kircher, WDRB
Chris Isidore, CNN Newswire
Jeanne Sahadi, CNN