NBA: Obama Hails 'Believeland' Cavaliers

NBA: Obama hails 'Believeland' Cavaliers

WASHINGTON, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 11th Nov, 2016 ) - US President arack Obama welcomed the Cleveland Cavaliers to the White House on Thursday, celebrating the NBA championship that ended their city's 52-year wait for a pro sports title. "That's right, I said world champion and Cleveland in the same sentence -- that's what we're talking about when we talk about hope and change," Obama quipped of the Cavaliers rally from a 1-3 deficit in last season's NBA Finals to a seven-game triumph over the Golden State Warriors.

"Through it all, Cleveland was always Believeland," Obama said, noting the many heartbreaks endured by the Ohio city's sports fans and lauding the Cavs not only their prowess on court but also for their philanthropic efforts. He noted that superstar LeBron James and his LeBron James Family Foundation paid college tuition for 1,100 students from Akron, Ohio, and he offered a shout-out to Kevin love's efforts to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

"The Cavs have always given back to their fans," Obama said. "And more than just the money players and coaches have made about 200 visits annually to schools, hospitals, food kitchens and more, including assisting educational programs that reach more than 100,000 kids in northeast Ohio. "These Cavs exemplify a growing generation of athletes that are using their platforms to speak out." James campaigned for US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

His visit to the White House came on the same day that Obama hosted President-elect Donald Trump, who will take office in January after a caustic and divisive campaign. A day after Trump's shock win James weighed in on Instagram, to say "Parents and leaders of our children please let them know they can still change the world for the better! Don't lose a bit of faith." Another Trump opponent, Ohio governor John Kasich, was at the South Lawn ceremony, but Obama, a keen basketball fan, largely kept things light.

He had a word for every player on the team, coach Tyronn Lue and owner Dan Gilbert -- not to mention JR Smith's shirt. A bare chested Smith figured prominently at the Cavaliers' victory parade, and Obama offered "a special thanks to JR Smith's shirt for showing up. "I wasn't sure if it was going to make an appearance today. I'm glad you came." The die-hard Chicago Bulls fan also noted a side benefit of the Cavaliers' gritty come-from-behind win over the Golden State Warriors, who broke the 1995-96 Bulls' record with 73 regular-season wins but unlike that Chicago team didn't win the title.