August 24, 2021 

Inside the Seattle Storm visit to the White House

WNBA welcomed to White House for the first time since 2015

President Joe Biden hosted the 2020 WNBA champion Seattle Storm at the White House on Monday, celebrating their successes on the court and uplifting the league’s dedication to social justice and activism. Before Monday’s visit, the Minnesota Lynx were the most recent team to visit the White House in 2015. No WNBA or NBA team has visited the White House since the Cleveland Cavaliers were hosted by President Barack Obama during his last term in office in 2016.

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Four-time WNBA champion and five-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird acknowledged the gap in White House visits during the Trump administration in her remarks.

After thanking President Biden for hosting the Storm, Bird said, “As people who are part of women’s sports, it feels good to be back in this place and to have our achievements celebrated in this way.”

The president acknowledged the accomplishments of the Storm on the court, including their three-game sweep of the Las Vegas Aces in the 2020 WNBA Finals and the franchise’s record-tying four WNBA championships. Biden also elaborated on the impact of the team’s actions off the court as well as the overall impact of the WNBA on society.

“What makes this team remarkable is they don’t just win games, they change lives; encouraging people to get vaccinated so we can beat this pandemic, speaking out and standing up for racial justice and voting rights, supporting education and [mentorship programs] for young people, from fighting to protect trans youth from an epidemic of violence and discrimination. That’s what winners do, shine the light. They lift people up, they are a force for change. That’s the Seattle Storm, that’s the WNBA; that’s what they do. For 25 years the WNBA has been changing what’s possible for millions of women and girls,” President Biden said in his remarks.

Crystal Langhorne, a member of the 2020 WNBA championship team and the Storm’s Director of Community Engagement used the opportunity to speak about the franchise’s Force4Change campaign. The social justice initiative was launched in summer 2020 to support voter registration and uplift the and amplify the voices of Black leaders and nonprofits serving Black communities.

“We have to continue to amplify, invest and do whatever we can do be a force for change,” Langhorne said. “Being the first women’s team to visit this administration, an administration that aligns with so many of our values, is such an honor.”

Written by Tee Baker

Tee has been a contributor to The Next since March Madness 2021 and is currently a contributing editor, BIG EAST beat reporter and curator of historical deep dives.

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