NBA champs joke with Obama, dress sharp on White House visit

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on January 9, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 9 at 11:38 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Dallas Mavericks were wearing their Sunday best on Monday. Even team owner Mark Cuban was wearing a suit.

The Mavericks took a detour on their way to Detroit.

It's been debated by the NBA and Cuban who set up the visit, but President Barack Obama gave Cuban the credit.

"It turns out because of the lockout, Dallas wasn't scheduled to play in Washington this season," Obama said. "That did not sit well with Mark. He knew this team had worked hard. He wanted them to get all the perks of a world championship, including a visit to the White House. It's tough to say no to Mark Cuban, and so they made a separate trip, and here we are."

It's been seven months since the Mavericks won the championship. They did it with an eight-man rotation that had an average age of more than 32 years.

"People said that Jason Kidd was too old, and I will say, this is the first time that I've been with world champions who are my contemporaries," Obama said. “These players got it done because they know how good teams win. It’s not just by jumping higher or running faster, but finding the open man, working together, staying mentally tough, being supportive of each other and playing smarter. That’s how the Mavericks took down some of the league’s best teams."

The President was given a Mavericks jersey from forward Dirk Nowitzki with his favorite player’s number, Michael Jordan's 23.

"That's what I'm talking about," Obama said. "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. They said J.J. Barea was too small and that Dirk Nowitzki was too slow, they did say that Dirk, I'm sorry."

President Obama posed for photos with the team and with Cuban's daughters on a day the Mavericks won't soon forget.

"I told them that too bad that next year it'll be the Chicago Bulls here, but they said I shouldn't be so confident," Obama said.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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