Monday, January 9, 2012
Delonte West won't attend Obama visit
ESPN.com news services
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is beginning the week by hosting the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks at the White House.
But Delonte West, signed by the Mavs prior to this season, missed the visit for what was believed to be a failed criminal background check by the White House, according to the team.
In 2009, Delonte West was arrested after being pulled over riding a motorcycle when police found three guns stashed in a guitar case he was carrying.
The U.S. Secret Service disputed that characterization Monday, however, saying he was not "banned" as has been claimed.
"The individual in question was never someone that would not be permitted to attend the event today," Secret Service agent Edwin Donovan told ABC News. "He is on the list for entry today and was never advised otherwise to my knowledge."
Obama, who roots regularly for the Chicago Bulls in his adopted hometown, congratulated the Mavericks for winning the 2011 championship title.
The Mavericks said they would not comment on West's absence. West was arrested in 2009 after being pulled over riding a three-wheel motorcycle, said he would instead visit his home, which is located near the White House. West is from the D.C. area.
"That's what happens when you make bad decisions in your life," West said over the weekend, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "You can't go to the White House.''
During the 2009 incident, police found three guns stashed in a guitar case he was carrying. He later pleaded guilty to weapons and traffic charges.
Obama's East Room tribute for the Mavericks was to follow a private meeting he'll have earlier in the day with his senior advisers at the White House.
"I've been there 100 times in my lifetime,'' West said, according to the Star-Telegram. "I live right around the corner. I live in D.C.
"It's going to be a shame the president isn't going to get a chance to meet me," West added, jokingly. "I'm the president of my house.''
A lower back injury may keep Jason Kidd from playing on the Mavericks' upcoming two-game road trip, but it won't keep him from making the White House trip.
The rest of the team was present, too, including the other eight remaining players from the title team. The six players who did not return will not be present.
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 spasms.
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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 after Sunday's practice.
The NBA did not schedule the Mavs to play at the Washington Wizards this season. 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.
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.
Information from ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan and The Associated Press was used in this report.