Remarks at a Meeting With the University of Houston Basketball Team in Texas

April 30, 1983

Mr. Kasser. Mr. President, you can imagine how proud we are of this basketball team. And the University of Houston is so proud of their number one standing, all up until the very last game of the year. And, of course, somebody had to win; somebody had to lose. But we're still awfully proud.

And we're awful proud for you to take this time to greet them, and I think this is a very special day to them. And the Phi Slama Jama has, I think, taken the Nation and the city of Houston -- the slam-dunking and the abilities of this team. And we'd like to make a special presentation to you.

I'd like to read the plaque to you. President Ronald Reagan, as honorary member of the Phi Slama Jama fraternity, it entitles him to all rights and privileges. And we would really like you to be a part of this Phi Slama Jama fraternity. And we have a T-shirt here that -- it will help you slam-dunk. [Laughter] It's what the guys wear, and it's to help you slam-dunk. And so we'd sure like to have you have that, also.

The President. Well, thank you very much. I'm very proud to have these and to be a member. I've been an honorary member of a few things, but nothing quite as unique as this. [Laughter] I'm delighted -- and also to find out what Phi Slama Jama means. [Laughter]

I congratulate this team, and you're absolutely right. I know that losing is never easy, but you were the top team in the United States for all but 2 seconds of the season, and that's not bad. And you not only proved you were a great team, you proved you were great sportsmen. And I think everyone is proud of you, and I know we are. And I'm very proud to be a member of this fraternity now. You don't do things like hazing or paddling or anything like that to new members do you? [Laughter]

Mr. Kasser. If you miss a slam-dunk, we may have to. [Laughter]

The President. All right. Well, I'm only sorry that your coach couldn't have been here, also, because I wanted to talk to him about maybe helping me with a little teamwork on the Hill. [Laughter] We could work something out there. But I will admit that there are moments in the job that I've got where slam-dunking looks very, very attractive. [Laughter] I'll be going, but I am proud to meet all of you, and I appreciate your doing this for me. Thank you.

Mr. Kasser. Thank you.

Note: John Kasser, athletic director of the University of Houston, spoke at 8:58 a.m. The President met with the team in the Imperial Ballroom at the Houston Hyatt Regency Hotel, before returning to Washington, D.C.