Waiting for her chance to meet the President of the United States in the summer of 2012, Baylor’s 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner could see her teammate, Shanay Washington, having trouble with one of life’s basic fundamentals.
There to be honored for winning the 2011-12 NCAA Division I women’s basketball championship, Washington, then a sophomore, extended her hand to Barack Obama and then everything ground to a stop.
“She was almost starting crying,” Griner said. “She was so nervous she forgot her own name. I was like [thinking to herself], ‘Yo girl, say your name.’ Me, I was just like, ‘What’s up, Mr. President.’ I was trying to explain to her that he [Obama] is just a person like us. It was a lot of fun.
“When I got there, I asked him, ‘Mr. President, can we hoop some?’ He [Obama] said, ‘No, we’re not hooping today. I’m not letting you block my shot.’ And I said, “I’m glad you know that because I would.’”
Over the last two decades the tradition of the President greeting the champions of major professional and collegiate sports has become a Washington tradition. And on Wednesday, the UConn women’s basketball team, which won its eighth national championship last season, will make its eighth trip.