The Storm made a trip to the White House after winning the WNBA title in 2010. But after watching the Minnesota Lynx win the WNBA title last season and not receive an invitation, Seattle does not expect to be invited to the White House this year.
Sue Bird and the WNBA champion Seattle Storm will not make a trip to the White House and would decline an invitation if one was extended by President Donald Trump.
“At this point does it even need to be discussed?” said Bird, a 17-year veteran. “It’s come up. We pay attention to what happened with Minnesota and not getting invited. … We all pay attention to what’s going on.”
After winning the league title last year, the Minnesota Lynx never received a White House invite and chose to hand out shoes to low-income children during its trip to the nation’s capital.
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Bird referenced the Golden State Warriors, which toured the African-American Museum instead of the White House following its 2017 NBA title and didn’t receive an invitation from Trump after its 2018 championship.
And she noted that NBA star LeBron James’ recent Twitter beef with Trump soured players’ opinion of the administration.
“It’s a huge disappointment,” said Bird, an 11-time All-Star. “(It) used to be something that’s really special and something that was an honor and you look forward to.”
During his tenure, Trump has received visits from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, World Series champion Houston Astros, Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins and NCAA football champions Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers.
This year, Trump canceled a visit by the Philadelphia Eagles to commemorate their Super Bowl win after most of the players decided they’d skip it.
The South Carolina women’s basketball team and the North Carolina men’s basketball team, which won NCAA titles in 2017, declined White House invitations.
The Notre Dame women’s basketball team and the Villanova men’s basketball teams — the 2018 NCAA champions — have not received invitations.
Bird has made two trips the White House, once at Connecticut after winning an NCAA title and in 2010, after the Storm won its second WNBA championship.
“There’s an excitement about it,” Bird said. “You’re going to the White House. I remember first walking in to meet President Obama and it’s like — just the aura — it’s insane.
“And now it’s, that’s not what the feeling is anymore. It doesn’t feel exciting. Nobody wants to go. It’s totally changed and that’s disappointing because it used to be something that most athletes looked forward to.”
Sports champions have visited the White House for decades, but for the second straight year, the WNBA champion isn’t going.
“I think until people see a change it’s probably going to be the norm,” Storm forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I don’t see many people that are going to accept the invitation if they get one.”