With the returning members of the Dallas Mavericks smiling behind him and owner Mark Cuban to his left, President Barack Obama paid full credit to Cuban for making the traditional White House trip for the reigning champions happen.
"Not only did Mark help to put together an outstanding group of players and coaches, he was also responsible for making this event happen today. So we are thrilled to have you guys here," Obama said during Monday's ceremony. "It turns out that because of the lockout, Dallas wasn’t scheduled to play in Washington this season. That did not sit well with Mark. He knew his team had worked hard. He wanted them to get all the perks of a world championship, including a visit to the White House.
"It is tough to say no to Mark Cuban. And so they made a separate trip and he we are. And I’m glad it worked out because this is a special group."
Last week, Cuban, who Obama jokingly called the "shy and retiring owner of the Dallas Mavericks," said he was irked when the NBA released its 66-game schedule and did not have the Mavs playing at the Wizards, which would have been the ideal time to work out scheduling for the team to visit the White House. Ironically, the Wizards will play in Dallas in March.
Cuban said he then had team CEO Terdema Ussery call the White House to work out an alternative.
Cuban said the White House came up with today as the day and the rest is history. But, then the NBA league office jumped in to say that it had actually discovered that Obama had availability today, and that it took the lead in the scheduling.
Not that it really matters in the end, but Obama certainly made it a point to recognize Cuban's efforts to get the champs to the White House.