When the NBA lockout stretched into what would have been the first week of the season, I’m sure not many of the Dallas Mavericks players were concerned about whether or not they’d be able to visit the White House to celebrate their 2010-11 NBA Championship with President Barack Obama. But when the season finally began, a few reports trickled out that the Mavs – specifically owner Mark Cuban – were pretty pissed that they didn’t have a game against the Washington Wizards in D.C. so they could stop by 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and slap a few high fives with Barry O.
Thankfully, NBA Commissioner David Stern told everyone to chillax and the Mavericks dropped by the White House yesterday to give Obama his latest personalized championship jersey. And on January 17, Obama will receive yet another jersey when the St. Louis Cardinals will visit him to celebrate their World Series victory. Sadly, Albert Pujols will not be making the trip, presumably because Glenn Beck told him that Obama will take all of his new money (I’m so excited that I can finally make these jokes!).
But thinking about these two visits, I eventually started to wonder when this tradition of championship teams visiting the White House began, and thankfully CBS News reporter Mark Knoller already did the dirty work and determined that Calvin Coolidge was the first POTUS to honor champions, specifically the 1924 Washington Senators. But screw Coolidge, because George W. Bush and Obama perfected the art of honoring champions. In fact, Bush had annual events to honor every NCAA sport champion for both the spring and fall, and as his first term comes to a close, Obama has welcomed more than 20 championship teams to the White House.
Maybe eventually a president will welcome a champion blogger. A boy can dream.
(Images, in no specific order, via Zimbio, the AP, Getty and the White House.)