The Seattle Storm won its third WNBA title on Wednesday night after beating the Washington Mystics. The team said it has not received an invitation from the White House after winning the title but players said they had no interest in going anyway, star point guard Sue Bird said.
“At this point does it even need to be discussed?” Bird said, according to ESPN. “It’s come up. We pay attention to what happened with Minnesota and not getting invited.”
Bird was referring to the Minnesota Lynx, who won the WNBA championship last year. The team was not invited to the White House but instead chose to visit Washington, D.C., and hand out shoes to low-income children.
Bird also brought up the Golden State Warriors and when President Trump withdrew an invitation to the team who won the NBA Finals in 2017 after the team’s all-star point guard Stephen Curry said he didn’t want to visit the White House.
“Everyone knew when everything happened with Steph Curry and LeBron (James) on social media, all that stuff. We all pay attention and we watch,” Bird said.
"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,” she continued.
Other players from the team agreed with Bird and said they were not interested in going to the White House.
"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," Jewell Loyd, a shooting guard, said. "So thanks for the non-invite."
The team’s starting center, Natasha Howard, said she would not accept the invite, ESPN reported.
Bird has visited the White House twice in her career, after the Storm won in 2010 and in 2002 after clinching the NCAA championship. She said the invitation was not the same as it used to be.
"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 the case anymore,” she explained. “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."
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the Storm’s forward, echoed Bird’s comments. She has also visited the White House and said the invitation didn’t feel the same.
"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."