SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The World Champion Golden State Warriors were heralded Thursday by President Barack Obama for their excellence on and off the court.
Obama began with a quip about star guard Steph Curry’s young daughter, Riley, who became a media sensation during her father’s press conferences after the team’s NBA playoff wins.
PHOTOS: Warriors at The White House
“I was hoping that Riley Curry would be here today to share the podium with me,” the President said. “But I’m going to have to just wait another day to get some media training.”
He followed with several personal remarks about players and coaches.
Of Luke Walton who guided the team to an NBA record winning start while coach Steve Kerr was recovering from back surgery, Obama said he knows how he feels. The NBA credits wins to the standing head coach, not the interim coach. So all of Walton’s win are actually being credited to Kerr.
“Luke Walton stepped up (in Kerr’s absence) and led the team to a ridiculous 39-4 record,” the President said.
“Unfortunately, the NBA will not let him claim those victories as his own. It doesn’t seem fair. He defied the critics, accomplished great things…and just don’t get the credit. I can’t imagine how he feels,” he said drawing laughter from the crowd.
Obama also took time to salute Curry, the NBA’s leading scorer.
“Watching Steph play is incredible,” he said. “For anyone who enjoys basketball it’s a lot of fun.”
After the President’s remarks, Kerr stepped up to the microphone and awarded the nation’s 44th President a special No. 44 Warriors jersey.
The Warriors have continued to dominate the NBA this season. Curry has only improved this year, leading the Warriors to a record-shattering 24-0 start to the season.
They have continued dominating the league, amassing a 45-4 record that puts them on track to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls record for most wins ever in a season.
Obama, a big Chicago Bulls fan, couldn’t help but reference the great Bulls teams from the 1990s. He jokingly told the Warriors at the beginning of the ceremony that it’s rare to be in the presence of guys who are part of one of the greatest teams in NBA history.
“So we’re pretty lucky today that we’ve got one of those players in the house – Steve Kerr,” Obama said, referring to the Warriors coach, who also played on those Bulls teams.
But Kerr “wins either way. Either way he’s got the record,” Obama said.
Curry, along with teammates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, have been selected to play in the NBA’s All-Star Game on Feb. 14.
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