January 28, 2013 will hold a special meaning for the Miami Heat.
Despite not being scheduled for a game in the Washington, D.C. area on that date, the Heat will be at the White House for a visit with President Barack Obama.
The visit falls in the tradition of the champion from the four major US sports leagues getting a presidential audience as they are defending their titles. This is the second time in the franchise’s history of such a visit, but it’s a first for two of the Heat’s ‘Big 3.’
For LeBron James and Chris Bosh this will their first time in the White House as defending NBA champions. James is coming off one of the most decorated years an individual player has had in recent memory. Bosh is coming off a post season where his importance for the Heat showed most when he went down with an abdominal injury.
While this is the first time for James and Bosh, the other part of the Heat ‘Big 3’ has seen this before.
This will be the second time that Dwyane Wade visits the White House at this capacity. The first time for him was on February 27, 2007 as the reigning NBA Finals MVP. This will also the second time that head coach Erik Spoelstra visits as a champion, his first time being as an assistant coach.
The man with the most experience at this tradition for the Heat is team president Pat Riley. He has visited the White House for this type of audience as a player and coach, this will be his first time going as solely an executive. This will also be first time that Riley will visit when a Democrat occupies the White House.