White House honors Storm's 2020 WNBA championship

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Aug 24 2021 10:34 AM

U.S. President Joe Biden jokes with Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart as he holds up a jersey he was gifted from members of the Seattle Storm 2020 WNBA Championship women’s basketball team at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 23, 2021. Leah Millis, Reuters
U.S. President Joe Biden jokes with Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart as he holds up a jersey he was gifted from members of the Seattle Storm 2020 WNBA Championship women’s basketball team at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 23, 2021. Leah Millis, Reuters

President Joe Biden honored the 2020 WNBA champion Seattle Storm at the White House on Monday.

A 20-minute ceremony was held in the East Room, with Biden and Storm captain Sue Bird both delivering speeches.

Biden complimented the team not only on its on-the-court success, but for the work they do off the court. He acknowledged the players' and team's work on standing up for racial justice, promoting education, protecting trans youth and encouraging people to get vaccinated.

"That's what winners do," Biden said. "They shine in the light. They lift people up. They are a force for change. That's the Seattle Storm. That's the WNBA. That's what they do."

Biden also credited the WNBA for uplifting women and said the country needs to continue supporting them.

Seattle gave Biden a No. 46 Storm jersey. The Storm are in Washington D.C. ahead of their game Tuesday against the Mystics.

Bird, who is a five-time Olympian and four-time WNBA champion, said it felt good for women's sports to be celebrated at the White House again.

"I'd be remiss and I wouldn't truly be representing our league if I didn't talk about the work that still needs to be done in our country and our communities," Bird said. "But also the work that we have been doing, and we're going to continue to do it, because this team is special. And that's what made the 2020 season so special."

Playing the entire 2020 season in a bubble in Florida, the WNBA played for two-and-a-half months during the pandemic last year. The Storm finished tied for the top record in the regular season at 18-4.

Seattle swept the Minnesota Lynx in the semifinals and then swept the Las Vegas Aces in the finals. Breanna Stewart won the Finals MVP Award.

The Storm are the first professional basketball team to visit the White House since 2016. No NBA or WNBA champion went during President Donald Trump's administration.