ABC News' Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) reports:
President Obama welcomed the Seattle Storm to the White House today to honor their WNBA championship and thank them, as a basketball fan and a part-time coach, for “setting a good example for every young girl with big dreams.”
“As somebody who had an extraordinary time this year coaching a couple of games of Sasha’s, I can tell you nothing gets me more stressed but also nothing gave me more satisfaction than seeing young girls get confidence and improve and learn how to be competitive and still good sports," he said in the Rose Garden. "It is just wonderful.
“Since I’m usually surrounded by strong women in this house," he added, "seeing these young ladies behind us is a special pleasure. Because Michelle and I always teach our girls to set their sights high for themselves, expectations high for themselves. And we tell them if they work hard and do right, there’s nothing they can’t achieve.”
The Storm had quite a successful season.
"They tied the record for the most regular-season wins," the president said, "went undefeated at home [and] became the first team in WNBA history to go a perfect 7-0 in the playoffs on the way to the title.
“This was no fluke,” Obama said. “It was the result of true teamwork and unselfish play. … You see, the Storm family understands that being a champion doesn’t stop when you step off the court.”
The president commended the players for their community spirit and active involvement in their community, something they brought to the White House today in a basketball clinic as part of the first lady’s Let’s Move! initiative.
Obama also called out a few members of the team by name, including Swin Cash, joking “we can’t get rid of Swin.”
“I think she’s got a cot here somewhere," he said. "She was here as part of the Detroit Shock championship team. She volunteered to read to children at an Easter egg roll. She helped out with our Father’s Day mentoring barbeque. So, Swin, thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty.”
The president was joined by “some big fans” at today’s event, including "former college basketball star" Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, who is soon to be ambassador to China.
- Mary Bruce