President Obama congratulates the Lakers

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Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama chats with Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant as they pack gifts for troops at a Boys and Girls Club in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 13, 2010. Obama welcomed the Lakers to honor their 2009-2010 season and their second consecutive NBA championship.

President Barack Obama hasn’t been playing much basketball since he got elbowed in the mouth in a Thanksgiving pickup game. But he found time on Monday to congratulate the best team in the basketball world.

Obama chose to congratulate the NBA champion Lakers at the Boys and Girls Club in Washington, D.C., instead of the Oval Office. He said Kobe Bryant and his teammates had visited the White House so often, they could give tours.

The president also made a point of congratulating Lakers coach Phil Jackson for winning his 11th championship ring.

"It was his fifth championship with the Lakers," said the President, "which I should point out, is still one behind the six he won with the Chicago Bulls."

Bryant then mumbled something in the background — and the president translated: "Kobe said, 'not for long, though'."

Bryant and the Lakers helped the kids at the Boys Girls Club as they put together gift packages for wounded soldiers and the homeless. Ten-year-old Jaida Duncan proudly wore her Lakers T-shirt, "because I can look up to them."

The D.C. native said she was just a "so-so" Wizards fan.

"I don’t think of them as the best." She’s right. The Wizards have won six games — and lost 16. The Lakers are 17-and-7.

The two teams meet up on Tuesday night in the nation’s capitol.

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