By Tom Withers
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND — Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue got a unique championship ring — from the White House.
President Obama called to congratulate Lue on winning the NBA title and invited him and the Cavs to visit him in Washington before he leaves office. Lue spent nearly four minutes talking hoops with Obama, who said he had already emailed superstar LeBron James to offer his wishes.
“You did a really great job. It didn’t hurt having this guy named LeBron James,” Obama told Lue. “You should be proud of yourself. You did a great job on this and I really do think you brought cohesion and steadiness and a focus to the team. It really showed itself. You should feel good about what you did.”
Lue took over midseason after the Cavs fired David Blatt despite having a 30-11 record.
Lue modestly accepted Obama’s praise and credited Cavs ownership and general manager David Griffin for assembling Cleveland’s roster.
“It was just unbelievable and I thank those guys all the time for having the belief and confidence in me,” Lue said.
A journeyman point guard for 14 seasons in the NBA, Lue was at ease while sitting at a desk at the team’s training facility and chatting with Obama, who is a huge basketball fan and said he gave up playing two years ago after seeing so many friends pop an Achilles tendon.
Before hanging up, Obama joked about Cleveland’s players going shirtless during numerous celebrations after they made history by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to beat Golden State in seven games.
“Tell J.R. (Smith) and everybody to put on a shirt,” Obama said, drawing a chuckle from Lue. “You can’t just be walking around without a shirt for like a whole week. Now (Iman) Shumpert is taking off his shirt, Kyrie is taking off his shirt. Come on, man.”