Storm Q&A: Sen. Maria Cantwell

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Jonathan Tallariti, special to | November 4, 2008
Happy Election Day. Hopefully you've already voted today. With politics on everyone's mind, it's worth remembering that local elected officials supported the Seattle Storm by attending games at KeyArena throughout the season. During September, the Storm welcomed Sen. Maria Cantwell, who watched courtside alongside members of the Storm's ownership group, Force 10 Hoops L.L.C., as the Storm defeated the Minnesota Lynx. At halftime, the junior United States Senator from the state of Washington chatted with about her thoughts on the Storm and the team's role in the local community.

"I think the Storm is quintessential Seattle."
Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE/Getty Images
When did you begin watching the Storm?
In the last few years. The Storm has a national following and a friend of mine in Washington D.C. is a big fan, so I brought her the paper the day they won the title. She loved that, so I guess since then.

Do you have a favorite player?
Yes, Sue Bird. She is somebody who has national attention. I am a big fan of hers. She leads the floor and it is impressive to watch her work.

Do you have any experience playing basketball?
Not really, but I did grow up in Indiana, which is big on basketball in general. You kind of get the importance of the game at an early age.

Who were you a fan of growing up?
Well, you know Larry Bird was in college about the same time I was, so I got to see him play at Indiana State. Obviously, there was a whole plethora of people at Indiana University and I got to see many of those people play for a long time.

What does the Storm mean to the city of Seattle?
I think the Storm is quintessential Seattle. It is the enthusiasm that we have for the uniqueness of this team. Itís an appreciation of the quality of basketball that women have brought to Seattle. They are leading the league in the number of games won. For us, that is such a point of pride, as is the fact they are such an all-star group of individuals and work hard together. We like to lead hard out here and the Storm is leading the charge.

What does having the Storm and the WNBA as a whole as role models mean to children?
There is great attendance tonight. When I think about all of the young people that are here, both girls and boys, looking up to the Storm as a killer basketball team and all of the talent that is on it, it just says, go out and do what you do best. It is really exciting to see.

What are your thoughts on the new Storm ownership group?
They are committed. That is number one. The commitment that they have to have the team here in Seattle.

What is your perspective on Title IX as you are here watching the game?
We are seeing the outcome. What we have to do is preserve the opportunity. When I was in high school, if you wanted to play on the girls basketball team you had to get up at 5:30 in the morning. You only got the gym in the early morning, or some time the guys' team would not want to play. We have come a long way since then. Having equal opportunity is critical. Itís a proud moment to see the Storm play and see how far we have come. To have women who excel and have the opportunity to show their game and to have the admiration of the fans. Itís like a celebration.