Basketball superstar LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates, winners of back-to-back NBA titles, will visit the White House next week, the Obama administration announced Wednesday night.
President Obama, an avid basketball fan, will honor the team during a White House ceremony Jan. 14. The same day, Heat players also will visit with wounded veterans from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the White House said.
The following night, the Heat will face off against the Washington Wizards.
Presidents regularly host championship teams from the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL, including a visit last January by the same Heat team. Such events have become routine, though there is the occasional controversy.
Tim Thomas, who was the goalkeeper on the 2010-11 NHL champion Boston Bruins, was vocally critical of Mr. Obama and snubbed the White House when the team was invited.
Other athletes, such as veteran NFL linebacker James Harrison, who won two Super Bowls as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, also have declined invitations to visit the White House.