LSU women’s basketball team member Sa’Myah Smith fainted during the live stream of President Biden’s speech celebrating the team’s 2023 national championship on Friday.
Smith, a freshman player for the Tigers, was standing on the risers behind the podium with her fellow athletes when she lost consciousness and had to be helped down. She later flashed a thumbs-up sign to indicate she was all right.
Speaking later to NOLA.com, Smith agreed that the heat and the fact they were “standing for quite a while” were probably responsible for her fainting. “I quite don’t remember how everything happened,” she said before showing off a basketball that was signed by the President. “It’s kind of worth it,” she smiled.
Biden halted his speech so that Smith could be tended to. “It’s a lot of standing,” Biden said. “I apologize. It’s OK. It’s happened lots of times.”
LSU coach Kim Mulkey took the podium to assure the crowd that Smith was fine, but had been placed in a wheelchair to be taken for further evaluation.
“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go. Sa’myah planned that,” Mulkey quipped. “No, Sa’myah is fine, for those of you who are concerned. Sa’myah is fine… She doesn’t want to leave. She wants to stand with us but she needs to be checked out.”
The press conference previously made headlines when First Lady Jill Biden suggested inviting both the Tigers and their rivals the Iowa Hawkeyes to the White House. LSU star Angel Reese initially objected to the comment, calling it “a joke,” and indicated she might not attend.
However, Reese did accept the invitation and even gave the First Lady a hug at the event, CBS Sports reported.
Jill Biden said she was proud to host the champion women’s athletes. “We’ve made so much progress, and we still have more work to do,” she said. “As I watched [the winning game] I felt the history of that moment of all the women before you who dared to be fast and furious, who ignored the critics and just played. I thought about every little girl who will come after how you show them that they belong on the court.”
“Folks, we need to support women’s sports, not just during the championship run, for the entire year and every season,” President Biden added.