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President Obama calls the WNBA “the most successful women’s professional sports league in the world” at Storm Rose Garden ceremony

Published on June 29, 2011

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Video of the ceremony

President Barack Obama welcomed the reigning WNBA champions, the Seattle Storm, at the White House Wednesday afternoon.

“A few weeks ago the WNBA kicked off its 15th season. In that time it has become the most successful women’s professional sports league in the world,” said Obama to an audience assembled in the Rose Garden.  “Attendance is up, ratings are up. Basketball is now the most popular sport for girls in the nation.”

The president met with the players, coaches and owners of the team and WNBA President Laurel Richie was also in attendance. Star player Lauren Jackson did not make the trip due to a visit to a specialist in Colorado to examine a hip injury. Near the end of the ceremony head coach Brian Agler mentioned that she would be undergoing surgery tomorrow.

The team presented the President Obama with a jersey and a Storm championship ring.

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Storm CEO Karen Bryant with a jersey for Pres. Obama. (Photo courtesy of the Seattle Storm)

Notables with the Storm at the White House included former Washington governor, current Secretary of Commerce and soon-to-be US Ambassador to China Gary Locke; US Senator Patty Murray (D-WA); former college player (Trinity) and Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; and former King County Executive and Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims.

Following the ceremony, Storm players hosted a WNBA FIT clinic for local youth on the White House basketball court. The clinic was designed in conjunction with Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s national campaign to tackle childhood obesity.

Other members of the championship team who missed the ceremony include Svetlana Abrosimova, Jana Vesela, Abby Bishop and Alison Lacey. Abrosimove and Vesela are competing in EuroBasket Women 2011.

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