President Barack Obama smiles as Minnesota Lynx basketball player Maya Moore, center, speaks as during a ceremony honoring the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx, Thursday, June 12, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Also on the left is player Lindsay Whalen. Minnesota Lynx defeated the Atlanta Dream last October to win their second WNBA title in three years. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Pablo Martinez Monsivais, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen celebrate the Lynx WNBA championship at the White House Thursday, June 12, 2014.

Corey Mitchell,

Obama fetes Minnesota Lynx for WNBA Finals win

  • Article by: Corey Mitchell
  • Star Tribune
  • June 13, 2014 - 7:09 AM

WASHINGTON — In this midterm election year, the defending Women’s National Basketball Association champion Minnesota Lynx are waging their own campaign: Get back to the White House in 2015.

President Obama honored the teams’ 2013 championship Thursday, marking their second White House visit in three years. Owners of the best record in the league, the Lynx already are eyeing another trip to the East Room.

“We want to definitely put ourselves in a position to be back here next year,” star forward Maya Moore said after the White House event. “It’s a competitive league, but we’re definitely aiming for that.”

It was Moore’s sixth trip to the White House since Obama took office in 2009 — two with the Lynx, two with National Collegiate Athletic Association championship teams from the University of Connecticut, one with Team USA after winning Olympic gold in 2012, and one individual event.

Obama joked that Moore visits the White House so often she has her own wing.

“When she comes, we kind of — we’ve got all her stuff here; she’s got a toothbrush,” Obama said.
Point guard Lindsay Whalen had been to the White House before, but still had to overcome a bit of stage fright when she presented Obama with a white No. 13 Lynx jersey.

“I just wanted to get it to him,” Whalen said after the ceremony. “I didn’t want to mess anything up.”

The Lynx last visited the White House in September 2012 to celebrate their 2011 championship. After losing to the Indiana Fever in the 2012 WNBA finals, the Lynx swept through the 2013 playoffs without losing a game.

“You began last season with something to prove,” Obama said. “In 2013 you set out for a little redemption and, to put it mildly, you succeeded.”

Obama commended the team for its off-the-court work: volunteering as reading tutors and raising money for breast cancer research.

“I also want to thank this team, as I always tell them, for being great examples for my daughters and for girls across the country,” Obama said. “We know that when young women are involved in sports, they do better across the board.”

As the ceremony ended, Moore offered to take Obama up on the possibility of her own space in the White House.

“I think we can continue to make this an annual trip and I want to see that room you’re talking about,” she said.

Corey Mitchell is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau • Twitter: @C_C_Mitchell.

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