Hail to the Cards!
Winning the men's NCAA basketball title
comes with perks, some better than others.
It's safe to say a trip to the White House to meet
the president is near the top.
Coach Rick Pitino led his team on a whirlwind tour of the nation's capital in July. They
met with Senate Republican Leader Mitch
McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Rand Paul, and U.S.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) and topped off the
trip with an audience with college basketball's
highest-profled fan, President Barack Obama.
"Today we're here to celebrate a Louisville
team that always played hard, that always
worked together, that stayed focused on one
singular goal, and that is to bust my bracket,"
The commander-in-chief lamented that
even though he had the Cards in the title
game, he did not factor in the extra motivation needed to put UofL over the top.
"I guess I doubted the motivational power
of making your 60-year-old coach promise to
get a tattoo if you win," Obama said. "We're
not going to ask coach to show it at the White
House, but I have to hand it to you, coach.
You did not chicken out."
Joking aside, the president not only recounted the team's athletic accomplishments,
but also commended the players' academic
and service accomplishments.
Pitino presented the president with a
special-edition championship Louisville Slugger baseball bat — presumably to be used at
testy D.C. press conferences — and also with a
presidential basketball jersey.