Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise Obama took note of Smith’s penchant for shirtlessness. The Cavs guard was spotted without one during his team’s raucous celebration in Las Vegas right after it won the championship; he then not only stepped off the plane in Cleveland with a bare torso but maintained the oh-so-casual look throughout the victory parade Wednesday.
As Obama noted, Smith’s antipathy toward shirts spread to teammates Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert, who also gave the garments
shirt short shrift at the Cavs’ parade. Clearly this is a growing threat to our nation’s sense of decorum, and the president was right to try and nip it in the bud.
Elsewhere in Thursday’s conversation, Obama praised Lue for creating good chemistry and winning it all as “a first-year coach” (he replaced David Blatt in January), although the president noted that “it didn’t hurt having this guy named LeBron James.” Irving was also singled out for kudos, and Lue said, “The biggest thing with Kyrie was just not listening to the media and listen to me, and be aggressive and score the basketball.”
Saying, “I know LeBron,” Obama told Lue that he had already emailed a message to James but wanted the coach to pass along to the rest of the players that he was “proud of them.” He added: “Seeing how the city of Cleveland responded tells you how important it was to those folks.”
Obama invited the Cavs to the White House, expressing hope that the team could make it before he leaves office. “We’re going to schedule it so we can come while you’re in the White House, for sure,” Lue told him.
Obama encouraged Lue, who had an 11-year NBA career, to keep playing basketball while he still could. “I hung it up about two years ago,” the president said, citing “too many friends” who had suffered Achilles’ injuries.
Here is video of Obama’s conversation with Lue: