SEATTLE — Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird reiterated Friday that the team’s players would not have interest in visiting the White House if an invitation is extended to the WNBA’s new champions.
“At this point, it doesn’t even really need to be discussed,” Bird said. “It’s come up. We paid attention to what happened with Minnesota not getting invited. Everyone knew when everything happened with Steph Curry and LeBron (James) on social media, all that stuff. We all pay attention and we watch.
“So it wasn’t an actual conversation where we sat down and said, ‘Hey guys, what do you want to do if this happens?’ First of all, we wouldn’t have, because you can’t do that until you win. You don’t want any bad juju. But I think it’s safe to say we all kind of were on the same page with that.”
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President Donald Trump did not invite the Minnesota Lynx to make the traditional White House visit after they won the 2017 WNBA championship. Instead, the Lynx used their trip to Washington, D.C., on community service, handing out Jordan Brand shoes and Nike socks at a local elementary school for kids from low-income families.
The non-invite came after President Trump withdrew an invitation for the 2017 NBA champion Golden State Warriors to visit the White House following Curry’s comments to ESPN that he would vote against accepting the invitation.
“For what we stand for in Seattle, and what we stand for in the league, I think it’s pretty evident that we don’t want to go,” All-Star shooting guard Jewell Loyd said. “So thanks for the non-invite.”
Storm starting center Natasha Howard, who was a part of the 2017 Lynx title team, also said she wouldn’t accept an invitation.
Previously, the Storm visited the White House in 2011 after winning the WNBA championship in 2010. They were unable to visit after the 2004 title, which came during the Iraq War.
Bird, who also made the trip to the White House after the second of her two NCAA championships at UConn, said the invitation no longer carries the same honor.
“I’ve been really fortunate to go, and it’s exciting,” Bird said. “You’re going to the White House. I remember first walking into the room to meet President Obama and the aura. … It’s insane. Now, that’s not what the case is anymore. It doesn’t feel exciting. Nobody wants to go. It’s totally changed. And that’s disappointing, because it used to be, like I said, something that most athletes would look forward to.”
Storm forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was part of three title-winning teams at UConn, teaming up with Finals MVP Breanna Stewart, who was an excused absence from the exit interviews. Mosqueda-Lewis said she feels bad for teammates who haven’t experienced a trip to the White House.
“It’s disappointing in the fact that we don’t really want to go and that, because of our beliefs, you don’t get to go because that is a part of winning a championship,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “Everybody’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to the White House. We’re meeting the president.’ It is what it is. Luckily for me, I was able to visit the White House three times when I was in college. It’s sad that not everyone gets that experience.”