President Barack Obama welcomed Dallas Mavericks team, the NBA champions at the White House on January 9.

The President saluted the 7-foot tall Dirk Nowitzki and the whole team for their win over Miami Heat in the NBA finals in June last year and described their claim to the first title with a "heart that's the size of Texas."

This was the maiden win of the NBA championship for the Texas-based team.

"This was a remarkable run, a great victory," the U.S. President described the team's recent wins. All Mavericks players were present along with the owner Mark Cuban.

The President, who is a fan of hometown Chicago Bulls, praised the champions saying: "They know how good teams win."

"Not just by jumping higher or running faster, but by finding the open man, working together, staying mentally tough, being supportive of each other, playing smarter."

When Obama said next year it would be Chicago Bulls, the Mavericks replied that the President should not be too confident.

The German basketball star Dirk, who had an excellent season last year, presented Obama with a No. 23 Maverick jersey. He averaged 27.7 points and 8.1 rebounds.

The President described Dirk, who played the Mavericks for 13 years, as the "tough guy".