WASHINGTON (AP) - The WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx made the best of their day in Washington, D.C. after failing to receive an invitation from President Donald Trump to visit the White House, organizing a community service event complete with appearances from U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.
In lieu of a visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the team spent the day handing out new socks and shoes to more than 300 students at Payne Elementary in Washington D.C.
“You have celebrated your fourth title today, not by celebrating yourselves, not by a big fancy thing, but by organizing this event to help hundreds of elementary students," said Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar during the event. "To me, that's leadership and that is being a true champion."
The Lynx teamed up with Nike and nonprofit Samaritan’s Feet for the event. Many students at the school are homeless and all come from low-income families.
“This group's legacy is that they have used sport as a vehicle of change. Empowering and inspiring, both women and men, both girls and boys, people of color, the LGBT community, people of faith and all underserved groups,” said Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve.
Members of the team have been publicly critical of President Donald Trump and said previously that they would think twice about attending a visit to the White House if invited, though no invitation was ever formally extended. They were previously invited to the White House by President Barack Obama after championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
“I love this team, and we are so proud of this team, and we would invite them to our house any day,” U.S. Sen. Tina Smith told the crowd. “They could have been in a lot of different places, some places they chose not to be. The fact that they chose to be here with you, to me, speaks loads not only about them, but about you and the incredible talent and strength in this room.”