The WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx have visited the White House to celebrate past championships, but after winning their fourth title in 2017, an invite from President Donald Trump never came.
So instead, with the Lynx in Washington, D.C., to face the Mystics on Thursday, the team is using the trip as a chance to host a charity event at a local school.
“We want to serve,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said, via the Star Tribune. “We want to give back, show that this is what champions do.”
The Lynx scheduled an early arrival to the nation’s capital as they typically do after winning championships, but the free time is being spent differently this year. Rather than visit the White House, the team will be at Payne Elementary in partnership with Samaritan’s Feet to “give away socks and shoes and spread goodwill.”
“We didn’t want to make it about us,” center Sylvia Fowles said. “So we came up with the idea of, ‘Why don’t we just give back?’ We reached out to Coach, and told her what we were thinking.”
All 340 students at Payne will get new socks and shoes donated by Nike, Jordan Brand and DTLR Villa.
“I’m super proud of the players. They could have had a day off,” Reeve said. “But they were like, ‘Nope, this is how we want to do this. This is how we want to celebrate our 2017 title in D.C.'”
The lack of an invitation from the White House comes the same week that the Super Bowl champion Eagles’ event was cancelled and replaced with a celebration of America. LeBron James and Stephen Curry said Tuesday that neither team currently in the NBA Finals planned to go to the White House, even if invited. James also expressed disappointment at the Lynx not receiving their own invitation.
The Lynx won a thrilling five-game Finals over the Los Angeles Sparks to take the 2017 WNBA championship. The team trailed 2-1 in the series before rattling off back-to-back wins for its fourth title since 2011. Fowles won Finals MVP.