The current WNBA 2020 champions have confirmed their visit to the White House next Monday, where they will be received by President Joe Biden to celebrate the league title they won last season.
The team, which will play the local Washington Mystics on Sunday, has received an official invitation from the president himself.
I think going to the White House was an honor for a long time, until 2016. It wasn’t necessarily political. He was scheduled to meet the President of the United States. “A person in that position acknowledges the success of his team,” said veteran base Sue Bird of the Storm, who is on her third trip to meet a president.
Bird, winner of five Olympic gold medals, most recently this month in Tokyo 2020, and passionate partner of US women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe of the US women’s team, emphasized that visiting the White House has always been an incredible honor.
“Even when you watch a movie like Forrest Gump, I kind of look at myself, you understand in that movie what an incredible honor it was. It wasn’t political. I think everything changed in 2016,” Baird said.
With Republican President Donald Trump out of office, Bird said he’s happy to be back. Many WNBA players, including Bird, have been vocal in their acceptance of social justice movements such as “Black Lives Matter,” which Trump has called a radical and violent ideology, as well as personally critical of Rapinoe.
“Now that you’re back in a place where it’s an honor, and that you’ve been recognized by the highest office in the country, that’s exciting, it’s fun,” said Bird. “It’s not just about meeting with the president or hopefully the vice president will be there. It’s about the whole experience of being in the White House. Have a day about your team and celebrate what you’ve accomplished.”
In addition to her two previous visits to the White House, Bird was invited three more times after winning championships, once with the University of Connecticut team and two with Storm, but she was unable to attend.
Storm, who has won four titles, will be joined by team owner and WNBA commissioner Kathy Engelbert. The team last visited the White House in 2011.
No NBA or WNBA team has visited the White House since the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, former President Barack Obama last year in office.
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