The Seattle Storm WNBA team is nothing short of dynamic on and off the court. As four-time title holders, the 2020 champions made it their mission to use their platform to promote inclusion and the protection of all Americans. President Joe Biden recognized them for their courageous feats at the White House recently.
“What makes this team remarkable is they don’t just win games, they change lives,” Biden said at the Aug. 23 gathering. “That’s what winners do. They shine the light and lift people up. They’re a force for change. That’s the Seattle Storm, that’s the WNBA.”
During the pandemic, members of the team have encouraged people to get vaccinated, spoken out against police brutality, pushed for LGBTQ+ rights and raised money to support education in Seattle.
“Social justice cannot fade into the background. We have to continue to amplify, invest, and do whatever we can to be a force for change,” said former Storm player and University of Maryland graduate Crystal Langhorne.
Langhorne now serves as the team’s director of community engagement for its social justice platform Force4Change.
“It’s about investing in underserved communities,” she said.
This summer the Storm donated $10,000 to the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle matching what they gave to the Seattle King County NAACP last year. They were the first women’s professional sports team to visit the White House during the Biden administration.
“The women of the W waded into the center of this movement. They use their play on the court, and their eloquence off, not merely to demand change but to generate engagement and cause change,” said Storm owner Ginny Gilder. “Through their focused efforts, these leaders modeled how to respond in tough times and never ever settle. They offered concrete reasons to hold onto hope, and they changed the future of our country.”
The team was the first out of the WNBA or NBA to visit the White House since the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. The Storm wasn’t invited to meet President Trump after winning a championship in 2018.
“As people who are part of women’s sports, it feels good to be back in this place and to have our achievements celebrated in this way,” Bird said after their 2021 White House visit.