We’ve seen many championship teams visit the White House plenty of times, the last instance being the Chicago Cubs. Regrettably, the Los Angeles Sparks, who won the 2016 championship in a stunning Game 5 against the Minnesota Lynx, could not visit the White House while President Barack Obama was still in office. This is due to the fact that, after a WNBA season is done, many athletes continue playing overseas (and getting paid much more for it.)
According to ESPN, the team had tried to get a visit to come to fruition before Obama left office, but it just could not happen:
[WNBPA Director of Operations Terri Jackson] said she and others at the players union reached out to people they knew at the White House for guidance. Ogwumike contacted the WNBA to see if the league could help. And for a long time, it was very quiet, with no word from the White House.
So, in lieu of a visit, he sent them a congratulatory letter, which the Sparks shared on Thursday.
Congratulations on winning the 2016 WNBA championship.
Winning a title is never easy. Your hard work and determination set an impressive example, and your victory reflects the character and resilience you demonstrate both on and off the court. I admire your commitment to giving back and making a difference in your community.
Congratulations, again, on your well-deserved success. I wish you all the very best.
The team and players’ union appreciated the letter, given the circumstances:
"We are all just so pleased that he made the space and time to do it, considering all the other things he had on his plate," Jackson said. "This was a great outcome."
(h/t For The Win)