Seattle Storm visit White House to celebrate 2020 WNBA title

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

For the first time since 2016, a WNBA team has visited the White House.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden hosted the Seattle Storm on Monday in celebration of their 2020 WNBA title and “remarkable” service to the country. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert was also in attendance.

The last WNBA team to visit the White House was the Minnesota Lynx in 2016. No championship team visited during Donald Trump’s presidency, with many players — including Sue Bird — speaking out against his policies and actions.

“What makes this team remarkable is they don’t just win games, they change lives,” Biden said. He went on to list the players’ accomplishments, including “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; and fighting to protect trans youth from an epidemic of violence and discrimination.”

“That’s what winners do,” he continued. “They shine the light, they lift people up, they’re a force for change. That’s the Seattle Storm, that’s the WNBA. That’s what they do.”

Biden also congratulated the league on its 25th anniversary and its efforts to change what’s possible for “millions of women and girls all across the world” and give them “courage.”

Storm players also met with members of the White House Gender Policy Council on Monday.

“We’re a league full of women, full of women of color, women who are members of the LGBTQ community,” Sue Bird said in reference to the president’s gender-related initiatives. “We have a player who’s just come out as trans recently. So, we are a diverse group.

“And those groups sadly, in our country, are marginalized more times than not. And what President Biden and his administration have shown is they’re not going to allow that to happen. They’re not going to continue to allow that to happen. So, of course we’re aligned with those things.”

It was the Storm’s first visit to the White House since 2011, when they celebrated their 2010 WNBA championship. The team did not attend the White House after they won the title in 2018. Bird has now visited the White House three times.

President Biden also recognized Bird, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart for winning gold with Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.

“What you accomplished there was incredible,” Biden said of the Olympians. “Winning the seventh-straight basketball gold for Team USA.”

The Storm will travel from Washington, D.C. to Minnesota to play the Lynx on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.