The Seattle Storm recently unveiled a state-of-the-art practice facility Thursday, a development that marks a huge milestone for not just the franchise and its players, but also the WNBA. According to Storm guard Jewell Loyd, it's a long-overdue addition that's expected to be a game-changer for the team.

“It's about time,” Loyd said, per Kevin Pelton of ESPN. “I think this is one of many that will happen in the next few years. We're just lucky to be one of the first to have it built up from the ground. We know how long it took. We saw the process, everything that came into it, the people that were a part of it as well. For us, it's what we deserve.”

The new center for basketball performance, introduced just before the start of their April 28 training camp, is a beacon of progress in the WNBA, joining the ranks of the Las Vegas Aces as one of the few teams with a dedicated practice space. Unlike the Aces and the upcoming Phoenix Mercury facility, which are adaptations of existing buildings, the Storm’s facility is a brand-new structure located in Seattle's Interbay neighborhood, directly across from their former business offices.

The facility is designed to be much more than just a practice space. It includes two basketball courts, a team dining room, an aquatic room for recovery and a player's lounge. Highlights of the space include the iconic Space Needle and the Cascade Mountains painted on the walls, and stairs made from the KeyArena court where the Storm clinched the 2018 title.

Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel led a media tour, pointing out that every element of the building tells part of the Storm’s story.

“Everything is overwhelming,” Brummel said. “It's such a great space. I think we've looked at each of the individual parts of the buildings so many times. To be able to see it come together and to actually be able to tell a story throughout the whole building, to me, is the biggest point there is… It all tells a story as you walk through it, and I love that.”

Practice facility part of  Storm's broader strategy to attract top players 

Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd (24) dribbles against the Phoenix Mercury during the second half.
© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The investment in the facility is part of a broader strategy to attract and retain top talent. The prospect of having a dedicated practice space played a crucial role in All-Star guard Loyd's decision to sign an extension with the Storm.

“I told Noey from day one, I want to have an edge,” Loyd said, referring to Storm head coach Noelle Quinn. “What's our edge? This is an edge. Other teams don't have this. They don't have the accessibility that we do. We're going to use that.”

The new facility also influenced the decisions of other key players like Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneka Ogwumike to join the team, both of whom took tours of the site during their free agency visits. General Manager Talisa Rhea emphasized the facility's role in demonstrating the team’s commitment to excellence.

“I think they really trusted the vision that we had for this space,” Rhea said. “You can talk about something, but to come and experience and see it and know that it's happening, it's on track, it really helped and was impactful at that time.”

The Storm aim for their new facility to enhance players' experiences in Seattle, as Rhea explained, with the integration of modern technology like Noah Basketball's sophisticated shot tracking at every hoop and PlaySight's automated practice video systems into their practice courts.

“Here, everyone who works for the Storm knows they're home,” Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder said. “There's a certain sense of belonging that brings that we never had before.”