OBAMA HAS A BALL WITH CAVALIERS
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama seems to really enjoy the tradition of welcoming athletes to the White House. One of his last such ceremonies — a meet-and-greet Thursday with the 2016 NBA champion Cavaliers — was a classic example.
There was plenty of ribbing, like when Obama playfully poked at the often-bare-chested Cleveland guard J.R. Smith. "I want to give a special thanks to J.R. Smith's shirt for coming today," he said. "I wasn't sure it was going to make it."
And some loose banter. Obama praised the team's come-from-behind win in the Finals, concluding with a plug for his own hometown squad: "And, I should add, that by knocking off the Warriors, they cemented the 1996 Bulls as the greatest team of all time — so your president thanks you for that.
"The first team in history to dig themselves out of a hole like that. The comeback was remarkable, and you learn about people when they're down."
That comment came shortly after Obama met with Donald Trump, who won the White House race to succeed him.
MORE NBA: Dwyane Wade got a hero's welcome on his return to Miami, where he was an All-Star 12 times in 13 years. Wade was back as an opponent for the first time as he and the Bulls made their lone appearance of the season in Miami and came away with a 98-95 win. "Little different," he said. "I won't use the word 'weird.' I'll use the word 'different.' " Wade was welcomed with applause and hugs when he walked into the arena, more cheers during warmups, then a big ovation when he was introduced. And then the signature moment: the sold-out crowd rising to its feet as a video montage played of some of his best Heat moments. When it ended, Wade stepped onto the floor and blew appreciative kisses. … Anthony Davis hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left and scored 32 as the visiting Pelicans (1-8) got their first victory, 112-106 over the Bucks.
Dawg leads Gator in Mexico
Chris Kirk shot 8-under 63 for a one-stroke lead in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The former University of Georgia standout had four birdies on each nine in his bogey-free round on the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course. Former Gator Camilo Villegas, Ben Crane and Gary Woodland were tied for second in the PGA Tour event.
MORE GOLF: In the LPGA, Spain's Carlota Ciganda birdied three of the last six holes for 5-under 67 and a share of the lead with Australia's Sarah Jane Smith at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico City. In PGA Europe, Henrik Stenson birdied three of the last four holes for 3-under 69 and trailed a three-way tie for the lead by one after the first round of the Nedbank Golf in Sun City, South Africa. Felipe Aguilar, Jeunghun Wang and Ross Fisher shot 68s to lead in the second of the three season-ending final series events on tour. Stenson, the Race to Dubai leader, can clinch the series title with a victory.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Florida freshman Gorjok Gak has been ruled eligible and is available for tonight's opener against Florida Gulf Coast in Jacksonville. The NCAA ruled the 6-11 center ineligible in the summer due to questions about the number of games he played at Victory Rock Prep in Bradenton. … Assistant Steve Robinson will not travel with No. 6 North Carolina for its first two road trips because of a blood clot in his leg. Robinson, 59, is a former head coach at FSU (1997-2002).
SOCCER: Seattle forward Jordan Morris, 21, was named MLS's rookie of the year after scoring 12 goals.