This is the second straight year the WNBA title winner has not been invited.
The Seattle Storm swept the Washington Mystics in the WNBA finals, securing the league title on Wednesday night with a 98-82 win.
Seattle has not received an invitation to visit the White House following its championship, but, even if they did, the team would not be making the trip to see President Trump, 17-year veteran Sue Bird told the Seattle Times on Friday.
"At this point does it even need to be discussed?” Bird said. “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.”
Sports champions have been visiting the White House for decades but this is the second consecutive year that the WNBA champion isn't going. The Minnesota Lynx did not receive an invitation last year after winning the 2017 WNBA title. The Storm have not yet been invited themselves.
“It’s a huge disappointment,” Bird said. “(It) used to be something that’s really special and something that was an honor and you look forward to.”
The invitation doesn't hold the same meaning as it used to, the 11-time All-Star explained.
"There’s an excitement about it. 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," Bird said. "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.”
Trump has received visits from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, World Series champion Houston Astros, Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins and the NCAA football champions Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers. This year, he canceled a visit from the Philadelphia Eagles to commemorate their Super Bowl win after most of the players decided they’d skip it. The Golden State Warriors did not receive an invitation after their 2018 championship declining the invitation following their 2017 title.
The South Carolina women’s basketball team and the North Carolina men’s basketball team, both of which won NCAA titles in 2017, declined White House invitations while the 2018 NCAA basketball champions, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team and the Villanova men’s basketball teams, have not been invited.