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NBA champion Miami Heat to visit Obama on Monday

NBA champion Miami Heat to visit Obama on Monday

MIAMI (AP) The Miami Heat will be in suits and ties when they visit the White House on Monday. Unless, of course, someone invites them to play some ball.

After all, President Barack Obama does enjoy some pickup games.

``Everybody will bring their shoes - just in case,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The basketball-fan-in-chief will be providing his personal congratulations to the Heat on Monday, when the team picks up one of the traditional perks of winning a championship. Miami will fly to Washington after playing in Boston on Sunday night, then remain in the city for parts of two days before heading back north for a game in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

``I've never been to the White House,'' Heat forward Mike Miller said. ``It'll definitely be an interesting experience that I've always wanted to do.''

The White House says Obama also will recognize the franchise's support of military members. The Heat will meet with wounded soldiers during their trip to Washington.

Honoring soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan has been a pregame tradition at Heat home games for several years, part of team president Pat Riley's program called ``Home Strong.''

``It's the pinnacle of the things that we've been able to experience together,'' Spoelstra said of the White House visit. ``Thankfully we have the majority of the team back. I think it's a great experience and a culmination of that year for our organization.''

When the Heat last visited the White House after winning the 2006 title, then-President George W. Bush attempted to dribble a ball that Heat players had signed. Problem was, the ball wasn't exactly inflated - and fell to the floor with a thud.

``It's always cool to be able to go,'' Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. ``It's special any time you get invited to the White House, but especially to go as champions, it doesn't get any better than that.''

Several members of the Heat organization, including Wade and LeBron James, openly voiced support for Obama's re-election campaign last year.

Politics aside, though, there is one policy where the opinions of the Heat and Obama - who supports Chicago teams - differ.

``We won't hold it against him that he's a Bulls fan,'' Spoelstra said.

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Bradley Beal passing Wes Unseld on Wizards' scoring list a reminder of his place among franchise greats

Bradley Beal passing Wes Unseld on Wizards' scoring list a reminder of his place among franchise greats

WASHINGTON -- John Wall, Bradley Beal, Wes Unseld. That's how the Wizards' all-time scoring list reads from No.'s three through five after Monday's Wizards win over the Pistons, as Beal moved into sole possession of fourth place with a good chance of passing Wall before the season is over.

Unseld remains the most accomplished player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history as an NBA champion, 1977-78 Finals MVP, 1968-69 league MVP and rookie of the year plus a Hall of Fame induction. But Beal passing him is another reminder he already has a place among Wizards and Bullets luminaries.

"That's an honor because that list is full of greats, true Wizards and Bullets legends. To be a part of that is an honor," Beal said. 

Within the context of Wizards franchise history, Beal has already separated himself as one of the best to ever suit up. In addition to being fourth in points, he is the all-time leader in three-pointers, sixth in assists, seventh in steals and 10th in win shares. He also has the single-season record for threes. That's not bad for a guy who is 26 years old. 

The Wizards/Bullets franchise, of course, doesn't have the same historic success as others like the Celtics and Lakers, but it has been around for 59 seasons. During that time 444 different players have appeared in a game for them.

The franchise goes all the way back to 1962 when they were known as the Chicago Packers. Along the way, there have been more losses (2597) than wins (2142), but many All-Stars and decorated players have come through.

Continuing to make his mark on the Wizards/Bullets franchise seems to be genuinely important to Beal. During his halftime interview with NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller, he mentioned the team's Baltimore days when discussing the Unseld feat. Back when he signed his contract extension in October, he explained the decision partly in terms of creating a legacy in Washington and taking the franchise to places it hasn't been in a long time.

On Monday, he alluded to those goals again.

"I never would have dreamt of that or thought of that coming here. To still be here is an honor, too. I'm just taking it in full stride. I've still got a lot more basketball to play, so who knows where I'll end up," he said.

Beal is well on his way to being widely known as one of the best players in Wizards/Bullets history. If he plays many more years in Washington and doesn't leave on bad terms, he will likely have his jersey retired someday.

But in order to reach the true top tier of Wizards/Bullets greats, he will have to lead them to some playoff success. Getting to the conference finals, where Washington hasn't been since the 1970s, would certainly stand out.

Still, if you were putting together a roster of the best players in Wizards/Bullets history, he would already be included.

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DeMatha basketball coaching legend Morgan Wootten in home hospice care

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Image captured via Instagram @demathacatholic

DeMatha basketball coaching legend Morgan Wootten in home hospice care

DeMatha Catholic announced on Monday that former head basketball coach Morgan Wootten had been moved to home hospice care following a series of health problems for the 88-year-old.

Wootten, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, coached the Stags from 1956 to 2002. Under his guide, DeMatha won 33 WCAC championships, 22 D.C. titles and five mythical national championships. He was the first basketball coach at any level to reach 1,200 wins.

More than 150 of Wootten’s players went on to play at the college level, including 12 who made it to the NBA. Wootten himself was highly sought after by many college programs, but he declined them all to stay in Hyattsville, Maryland, and coach DeMatha.

While he hasn’t coached in nearly two decades, Wootten’s legacy lives on at WCAC rival program Bishop O’Connell, where his son Joe is the head basketball coach and athletic director.

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