Dallas Mavericks: Barack Obama
Obama was in Berlin to make a speech at Brandenberg Gate. Afterward, he sat down to dinner with Nowitzki and several German dignitaries.
It isn’t the first time Nowitzki and Obama have met. They got to know each other a bit during the Mavericks’ trip to the White House after winning the 2011 NBA title.
|President Barack Obama congratulates the Dallas Mavericks on the franchise's first NBA Championship. |
"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.
Kidd was on the practice floor Sunday, but only watched as he continues to rehab a back injury sustained Thursday night that he termed as back spasms. He said the injury occurred as he battled San Antonio Spurs center DeJuan Blair for position to corral a rebound. Kidd was waking stiffly and said he hopes to be ready for Friday's game when the Mavs return home to play the Milwaukee Bucks. Kidd will return to Dallas after the White House visit while the team heads to Detroit.
The Mavs left for Washington D.C. following Sunday's practice and have a late Monday morning tour scheduled at the White House followed by a visit with President Barack Obama.
The NBA did not schedule the Mavs to play at the Washington Wizards. The White House carved out availability Monday, before the team plays at Detroit on Tuesday and at Boston on Wednesday, to honor the Mavs as champions, an American sports tradition that dates back more than 100 years.
Delonte West, signed by the Mavs prior to this season, will not be able to join the team because of a criminal record that did not pass the White House's background check, the Mavs confirmed Sunday. In 2009, West was arrested after being pulled over riding a three-wheel motorcycle. Police found three guns stashed in a guitar case he was carrying. He later pleaded guilty to weapons and traffic charges.
West, who is from the D.C. area, will visit his home, which is located near the White House. The rest of the team will make the trip, including the nine remaining players from the title team. The six players that did not return, will not be present.
On the court, West has arguably been the most consistent player among the team's three key newcomers that include Lamar Odom and Vince Carter.
Brought in to back up Kidd at point guard, West moved into the starting lineup at shooting guard in the second game of the season.
Coach Rick Carlisle praised West's work, calling him the team's best defender. West is averaging 8.0 points and 3.1 assists in nine games.
The web site’s Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2011 has Nowitzki at No. 39, with Mavs owner Mark Cuban at No. 32. More than 200,000 readers voted in this year’s poll, which did not include Lakers star Kobe Bryant after Bryant ranked No. 45 in 2010.
Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died earlier this month, tops the list after a monthlong voting process that began in early September. Actor George Clooney is the only man to be named to the top 49 in all six years of the pool.
Other sports figures include Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi (No. 10), Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola (No. 18), tennis champion Novak Djokovic (No. 19), UFC president Dana White (No. 38), New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (No. 42), golfer Rory McIlroy (No. 45) and Oscar Pistorius, who placed No. 48 as a runner competing internationally with two prosthetic legs.
President Barack Obama placed 21st.
“That guy can play,” President Obama said.
Barea averaged 8.9 points during the postseason, and torched the Miami Heat in Games 5 and 6 of the NBA Finals for 32 combined points.
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Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.