On Monday, I had the awesome opportunity to visit the White House. I have been there twice before. Each visit has been spectacular!
The first visit was in 1990 with George Bush Sr. following our Stanford NCAA Championship. The second was with Bill Clinton just before the 1996 Olympics. President Clinton took our team into the Oval Office, talked with us at length, and escorted us on a run along the Potomac River. His memory is amazing—he recalled a conversation he had with one of my teammates a year prior to the visit!
Since 9/11 they no longer give public tours of the White House without advance notice, background checks and a lot of security. In keeping with White House tradition, teams that win major championships still get invited for a private event with the President.
Since the Detroit Shock won the 2008 WNBA Championship, they were invited to the White House by President Obama. As the WNBA Cares Spokesperson and Ambassador, I was part of the official group.
Each visit to the White House has been special for me, but there was something more transformational about this one.
As we toured the residence, the green room, the blue room, the red room, etc. and we saw the portraits of all of the past presidents and first ladies, it became clear how history has changed. I watched the inauguration last January and saw the millions gathered on the Mall to witness first hand the change we were all about to experience.
When President Obama spoke to us, I found him to be extremely compassionate, eloquent, articulate, prepared, and kind. He congratulated the Detroit Shock and spoke about how positive it is for his daughters to have role models in sports.
As he spoke, I was sitting in the front row, maybe 15 feet away. When he was finished speaking he shook the players' hands and then he walked straight over to me. I was shocked! We chatted briefly and then he spoke to Senator Carl Levin, who was seated next to me.
No matter what your political views may be, I found President Obama to be genuine and authentic. He is incredibly charismatic and he truly represents what is possible in America.