DALLAS _ With a visit to the White House coming early next week, the Dallas Mavericks are looking forward at the opportunity of possibly playing some basketball against President Barack Obama.
An avid basketball fan, President Obama has been known to have a mean jumpshot and a slittery drive to the basket. The Mavs, who will visit the White House on Monday as part of the honor of being the defending NBA champions, hope to play a game of one-on-one with the Commander In Chief and see what they can learn from one of the most powerful people in the world.
“It’s going to be a great honor to meet the Chief, so we look forward to it,’’ guard Jason Kidd said. “Maybe we might have a little time to play a little one-on-one.’’
Asked if he believes he can truly get a call to go his way playing against the President, Kidd smiled and said: “Well, we know he’s going to get the benefit of the calls. And he has homecourt advantage, so we’ll just try to keep it close.’’
The Mavs inexplicably don’t travel to Washington, D.C., to play the Washington Wizards during this 66-game lockout-shorten season. That infuriated owner Mark Cuban, whose staff initiated the contact with the White House staff to make the visit with President Obama happen.
“It’s a huge honor,’’ forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “We didn’t know if it was going to happen or not with this season.
“And then we don’t go to Washington at all, so we were disappointed initially. But it’s very exciting.’’
Cuban said he couldn’t believe the NBA didn’t schedule the Mavs to play the Wizards in Washington so they could get the customary trip to the White House. The Mavs play at Detroit on Tuesday, so they had an open date on their schedule next Monday, and it matched up with President Obama's schedule.
“Every champ, every (championship) team gets to go there and meet the President,’’ Nowitzki said. “So we’re fired up about that.
“We have a couple of games here until then, and then we’ll really enjoy that day. We deserve it.’’
Mavs guard Vince Carter has already had the pleasure of meeting President Obama twice in recent months. Carter was the main organizer behind the Obama Classic, one of the lockout games that was slated to be played in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12. But the lockout ended in the early morning hours of Nov. 26, and the Obama Classic had to be canceled.
“I don’t know if you guys heard about the Obama Classic that we were trying to put on,’’ Carter asked. “I was the one putting it on. I just never talked about it.
“I had an opportunity to talk with (President Obama) and meet him a couple of times, so I’m excited about it.’’
Asked about President Obama’s solid basketball game, Carter, who played his college ball for the North Carolina Tar Heels, said: “He’s not bad. He loves the Tar Heels, so that’s why he’s all right with me. That’s why I like him.’’
-- Dwain Price
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