Published May 02, 2016
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is well known to rest his aging players without consideration of the strength of his opponent or the size of the stage.
So when the Spurs visited the White House on Monday to celebrate last year's NBA title, President Barack Obama couldn't help opening with a joke.
"I was considering having the vice president cover these remarks so I could stay fresh for the State of the Union," Obama said to laughter. "But I decided I actually wanted to meet them."
Said Popovich later: "What I want to remind the president about, if I might, with all due respect -- when I sit stars, I get fined. He doesn't."
Obama poked fun at Popovich's reputation for being curt with the press, saying, "I want the coach to know that he is not contractually obligated to take questions after the first quarter of my remarks."
The president, a famous fan of the Chicago Bulls, said it's never easy celebrating another team at the White House, but admitted it's hard to dislike the Spurs.
He poked fun of their age, singling out star Tim Duncan's graying hair and saying "there's a reason why the uniform is black and silver," and he praised their roster, calling them "the U.N. of basketball teams."
Obama said the Spurs -- who have won five titles in the past 16 years, all under Popovich -- always find a way to put together the best teams, finding players from all over the globe.
"They want everybody on the court," he said. "They think everybody has worth. They find folks who didn't have a chance someplace else and suddenly they figure out a way to make them shine as part of a team. And in that sense, they're a great metaphor for what America should be all about."
The Spurs posed for pictures with the president and gave him a No. 1 jersey with POTUS (President of the United States) written on the back.
They are in town to play the Wizards on Tuesday.