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Monday, January 9, 2012
Obama praises teamwork as key to title

By Jeff Caplan

It's tough to find much teamwork in Washington D.C. these days, so President Barack Obama knows it when he sees it.

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President Barack Obama congratulates the Dallas Mavericks on the franchise's first NBA Championship.

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During Monday's championship ceremony at the White House, Obama credited the Dallas Mavericks' team-oriented style of play last season as the key to their run to the franchise's first championship, and dumping that little team down in Miami.

"Nobody gave them much of a chance," Obama said. "People said that Jason Kidd was too old -- and I will say that this is the first time I’ve been with some world champions that are my contemporaries -- they said J.J. Barea was too small, that Dirk Nowitzki was too slow -- they said you had a great jump shot, but… -- they said DeShawn Stevenson was too crazy. They said the Jet was terrific, but they weren’t sure whether that tattoo was such a good idea.

"But, these players got it done because they know how good teams win, 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. That’s how the Mavericks took down some of the league’s best teams, including the Miami Heat, who got a little bit of attention last year."

Obama, an avid basketball fan, ended the ceremony by telling the Mavs that it's too bad it will be his hometown Chicago Bulls visiting the White House next year. Then he said the Mavs told him not to count them out just yet. Obama added: "This team really does have a heart that is the size of Texas."