Even as green and gold confetti flew and champagne bottles were uncorked, the Seattle Storm continued to “Say Her Name” as the WNBA has done all season.
Storm forward Alysha Clark spent much of her post-game video call with media talking about “the reason for the season” in working for social justice from the “wubble.” She dedicated the Storm’s 2020 championship to the Black girls and women around the country, adding she hopes they feel “just as victorious as I do.”
Clark dedicates 2020 championship to Black women
Clark was asked how the 2020 title compares to the Storm’s 2018 championship run, which had most of the same roster but was won under very different circumstances. The WNBA played its 24th season this year in a bubble environment at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And it tipped off amid a national reckoning with racial relations and injustice.
“This one is really special,” Clark said. “This one is special just because of reason that we were here in the beginning. We wanted to bring awareness and give a voice to the Black women that are often forgotten in this country. We are often overlooked and often unheard, and this championship was for them, for us.
“As a league of women, of black women, and the ladder of being different, we have women out here fighting for the voice of black women in this country, and, so to be able to come out here tonight and win this; it's a championship for little Black girls and Black women across this country honestly.
“I said it after the game when I was letting it all soak in. I hope each and every one of them feel 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. And that was what the season was about.
“So to be able to win a championship with that mentality, and all that on our minds, man, it's really special and historic. I'm so honored and thankful to be a part of that.”
Clark, 33, was named a unanimous All-Defensive first-team selection. She averaged 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game over the Storm’s 6-0 postseason record. It’s the fourth title for the franchise, pulling them into a tie for most all-time with the Minnesota Lynx and Houston Comets.
WNBA brings awareness in season focused on social justice
The WNBA dedicated its season to Breonna Taylor, the Louisville EMT who was shot and killed by police in March. A newly formed social justice council met with the families of police brutality victims via video calls to learn more about their stories and how to help. The league honored a different woman each week and used media calls and in-game interviews to speak about the women.
From first tip to last, every player in the league wore Taylor’s name on the backs of their jerseys. The idea was first raised by veteran Angel McCoughtry, whose Las Vegas Aces were swept by the powerhouse Storm in the Finals.
“When our team collectively had the discussion about coming down here, we knew it was much bigger than us and we knew it was much bigger than tonight,” Clark said.
“I really mean that when I say, I hope all the black women in this country and all the little Black girls that dream to be something really special in this country, like I hope you feel victorious tonight because this season was dedicated to you. We came out here night-in and night-out, and competed on a physical level but also to bring awareness.”
Clark said the championship is “amazing,” but the awareness and messaging the league has gotten out is “even greater.” The WNBA is working to get out the vote and raise awareness of the importance of voting.
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