The Seattle Storm experienced one of the most beautiful and meaningful accomplishments on October 6.
The team crushed the Las Vegas Aces in a 92-59 victory. The Storm swept the WNBA finals, earning the championship. The record-breaking margin of victory wasn’t the only special thing about the evening. After a tumultuous and emotional season, the Storm had made it through. They secured their fourth title in 16 years.
It was a special moment for the team, but also for each player on it. For Sue Bird, who has been there for all the team’s victories in the last 16 years, it was a moment of disbelief.
It was also a relief after a season that saw many injuries. The same could be said for Breanna Stewart, who overcame a rocky season to be met with a sweet victory.
While all the women on the team had different reasons to feel strongly, they each did. They also felt, as a team, that they wanted their victory to inspire Black women and girls around the country to keep being incredible.
The Seattle Storm celebrated an enormous victory on Tuesday night. The team successfully secured their fourth title in 16 years. They crushed the Las Vegas Aces 92-59, a record-breaking margin of victory.
Sue Bird has been around for all those titles. She spoke to The New York Times about the feeling of winning her fourth title.
“The fact that I’m sitting here, I think I’m having this, like, in-shock moment because it doesn’t really feel real that we just won and that I was able to contribute in the way that I did,” she said.
Last season hadn’t been so good for the team. Both Sue and teammate Breanna Stewart struggled through serious injuries. This season saw both women come back stronger than ever and determined to win.
It was also an emotional season for Jewell Loyd. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was her mentor, even dubbing Jewell “the gold mamba.” His death hit her deeply.
“This year has been a lot for me,” she said, fighting tears.
“This is for Kobe, Gigi, and the Bryant family, and for Breonna Taylor.”
The shortened 22-game season came with a lot for players to handle. The Black Lives Matter movement sat deeply on players across the league, who dedicated their season to Breonna Taylor. The WNBA also launched a social justice council to “address the country’s long history of inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism that has targeted black and brown communities.”
Since their first game, the Storm let fans know where they stood. They walked off the court during the national anthem. They also held a 26-second moment of silence for Breonna Taylor. Breonna’s name remained on their jerseys throughout the season, including Tuesday night.
Forward Alysha Clark reflected on what they all hoped the season meant to fans.
“It’s a championship for little Black girls and Black women across the country, honestly. I said it after the game, when I was letting it all soak in: ‘I hope each and every one of them feels just as victorious in this moment as I do, because you should. We see you, we hear you. We acknowledge you, and your life matters,'” she said.
Breanna, who was chosen as the Finals MVP, also spoke out powerfully against discrimination within the league. Kelly Loeffler, owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, slammed the league’s support of Black Lives Matter. Breanna had plenty to say in response.
“Well, I’m not going to say her name, so I don’t give her any type of power, but I think that from a political standpoint, what she did was just try to ruffle the feathers in the league and create more attention for herself because her Senate seat is up for grabs,” she told The New York Times.
“I think as the co-owner of the Dream, to make those comments when you’re in that position in a league that is 80 percent women of color?” Breanna continued.
“We don’t appreciate that, we don’t appreciate that at all. Personally, I don’t think she should be an owner, but it is not my job to decide who should not be an owner.”
What’s more impressive, the team won 11 straight games under some pretty unusual circumstances. Like the NBA, the WNBA operated their season in a bubble, called the “wubble.” Players couldn’t leave the wubble for over 40 days. Six players bought their children with them into the wubble. Seattle’s Sami Whitcomb left shortly before the finals to be with her wife as she gave birth to their first child.