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Minnesota Lynx honored by President Obama for 2015 WNBA title

When you get to the White House three times in five years, you’re undefeated

On Monday, President Barack Obama said it’s definitely fair to call the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx a “powerhouse.”

The president raved about the reigning WNBA champions for about 12 minutes in the East Wing of the White House, where the team was honored for defeating the Indiana Fever in a tough Game 5 last year to win the 2015 WNBA Finals. Obama said the team didn’t have a perfect season, but ended up as champions anyway. “Last year, these women faced down midseason roster shake-ups and multiple injuries,” Obama said. “I know, it was frustrating and [the possibility] of a championship game started to look a little bleak.”

The win marked the Lynx’s first championship at home. “After the game, the Lynx drove out to Paisley Park for a private concert by one of their biggest fans, Prince, which was pretty cool, and reminds us of how much we miss him,” Obama said of the team’s relationship with Prince, the late musical artist and Minnesota native who died in April.

Lynx standout guard Lindsay Whalen talked about last season and presented Obama with a personalized Lynx jersey. “It’s been a good run,” Whalen said.

Minnesota Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeves, forward Maya Moore and guard Lindsay Whalen show off their 2015 WNBA championship rings.

Minnesota Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeves, forward Maya Moore and guard Lindsay Whalen show off their 2015 WNBA championship rings.

Kelley D. Evans/The Undefeatd

Lynx forward Maya Moore was not new to this. The star made her fifth appearance at the White House. She was there twice with the championship UConn Huskies team. As a team, the Lynx have snagged three WNBA titles in five years (2011, 2013 and 2015).

Before Obama praised the team, ceremony attendees got a chance to meet Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve’s 19-month-old son, Oliver, who stole the show. “Oliver is upset that mom is up here and he’s not. Now, if you want to bring Oliver up here, that’s fine. Look, he’s got his little suit on and everything. Look at him — he’s got the bow tie,” Obama said.

Following the ceremony, Reeve said, “Oliver got to high-five the president of the United States — that’s pretty exciting.”

“You don’t really walk into the WNBA expecting support from the leader of the free world. It’s just really cool to have that connection with him. You know it’s genuine when he says, ‘I’m proud of you and I appreciate what you do,’ ” added Moore, mentioning that she’s seen the president’s jump shot. “He plays basketball, so he understands the love that we have for the game. I think [he] gives us a level of credibility and an appreciation that you can’t really can’t get anywhere else.”

Although Obama has not fully shared his postpresidential plans, Reeve said they wouldn’t mind him being a part of the Lynx.

“We did offer that Minneapolis is a great place to live,” Reeve said. “We certainly would love his involvement. In terms of the WNBA, there’s a lot of leaders that pay lip service to the idea of equal pay for equal work. And I think to have someone like the president, who has two daughters, it makes you more aware of the injustices that exist from marginalized groups. So I think when he talks about it, he really understands it. It’s not lip service. He puts his actions forward. I told him we’re very proud of him and the work that he’s done on behalf of the women in the WNBA.”

Reeve and Whalen later took a moment to show off their 2015 WNBA championship bling. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the WNBA.

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.