The Storm's predecessor was the Seattle Reign, a charter member of the American Basketball League (ABL), operating from 1996 through December 1998, when the league folded. Luckier than most localities that had an ABL team, Seattle was quickly awarded a WNBA franchise and began play less than two years later.
The Seattle Storm would tip off their first season (the 2000 WNBA season) in typical expansion fashion. Coached by Lin Dunn and led by guard Edna Campbell and Czech center Kamila Vodichkova, the team finished with a 6–26 record. The low record, however, allowed the Storm to draft 19-year-old Australian standout Lauren Jackson. Though Seattle did not make the playoffs in the 2001 season, Jackson's impressive rookie performance provided a solid foundation for the franchise to build on.
In the 2002 draft, the Storm drafted UConn star Sue Bird, filling the Storm's gap at the point guard position. With Bird's playmaking ability and Jackson's scoring and rebounding, the team made the playoffs for the first time in 2002, but were swept by the Los Angeles Sparks.
Coach Anne Donovan was hired for the 2003 campaign. In Donovan's first year, Jackson would win the WNBA Most Valuable Player Award, but the team had a disappointing season (with Bird injured for much of the year), and the Storm missed the playoffs.
The 2004 Storm posted a then franchise-best 20–14 record. In the playoffs, the Storm made quick work of the Minnesota Lynx, sweeping them in the first round. The Storm then squared off against an up-and-coming Sacramento Monarchs team in the West Finals. The Storm would emerge victorious, winning the series 2–1. In the WNBA Finals, the Storm would finish off the season as champions, defeating the Connecticut Sun 2 games to 1. Betty Lennox was named MVP of the Finals. The win made Anne Donovan the first female head coach in WNBA history to win the WNBA Championship.
Key players from the Storm's championship season were not on the team in 2005. Vodichkova, Tully Bevilaqua, and Sheri Sam moved on to other teams. In addition, the pre-season injury of Australian star and new acquisition Jessica Bibby hampered the team's 2005 season. While they matched their 2004 record and made the playoffs, the Storm's title defense was stopped in the first round by the Houston Comets, 2 games to 1.
In 2006, the Storm would finish 18–16, good enough to make the playoffs. The Storm put up a good fight in the first round against the Sparks, but would fall short 2–1. In 2007, the Storm would finish .500 (17–17), good enough to make the playoffs in a weak Western Conference. The Storm would be quickly swept out of the playoffs by the Phoenix Mercury.
On November 30, 2007, Anne Donovan resigned as head coach, and was replaced by Brian Agler on January 9, 2008.
Although most of Seattle's major sports teams endured poor seasons during 2008, the Storm would be the only standout team in Seattle that year, posting a franchise-best 22–12 record and finishing with a 16–1 record at home, also a franchise-best. But the No. 2 seeded Storm lost to the #3 Los Angeles Sparks in the first round of the playoffs in three games, and ended Seattle's season at 23–14 overall.
In 2009, the Storm were 20–14 and finished second in the Western Conference for the second straight year. In the playoffs, the Storm again lost to the #3 Los Angeles Sparks in 3 games, which ended their season in the first round for the fifth consecutive season.
In the 2010 season, the Storm were almost unstoppable with a record-tying 28 wins and 6 losses in the regular season, including a perfect 17–0 at KeyArena. This was the most home wins in the history of the WNBA.
Along the way, Lauren Jackson was named WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week five times, and Western Conference Player of the Month three times, on her way to being named WNBA MVP for the third time. Agler was also named Coach of the Year.
In the playoffs, the Storm dramatically reversed their fortunes from the previous five seasons. They started with a sweep of the Sparks, the team that previously knocked them out of the playoffs every time they met. Then they swept Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury in the conference finals, and the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA Finals. With two league championships, the Storm became Seattle's most successful pro sports team by that measure.
With the same lineup as the previous year, the Storm had much expectation for the 2011 WNBA season. But right in the second round a two-year home invincibility was broken by the Minnesota Lynx, who even left the Storm scoreless for the first seven minutes. Injuries hit multiple players, especially Lauren Jackson, who had to undergo hip surgery and missed most of the season. The regular starting five resumed play only in the last five games, but Sue Bird and Swin Cash kept the Storm competitive, finishing second in the WNBA with 21 wins and 13 losses. On the playoffs, a Mercury buzzer beater at the KeyArena eliminated the Storm in round 1.
In 2012, with Jackson absent for the early season training with the Australia national team and injuries to most of the team, including Bird, only Camille Little and Katie Smith played on all the games of the regular season. Upon her return, Jackson missed some games due to a hamstring injury, but reached 6,000 points on her WNBA career playing against the San Antonio Silver Stars. The 16-18 record put the Storm fourth in the West, facing the Lynx, who posted the league's best record during the regular season, in the playoffs. While the Storm managed to force a game 3 by winning in the KeyArena at double overtime, a last-second attempt by Jackson went off the rim and the Lynx took the series winning by just one point, 73-72.
After losing in the first round of the 2013 playoffs to the Lynx following a .500 regular season, the Storm missed the playoffs in 2014. This was the first time the Storm missed the playoffs since 2003.
Following seven-year head coach & GM Brian Agler's hiring in Los Angeles, the Storm elevated President Alisha Valavanis to President & GM, and two weeks later, hired Jenny Boucek as the fourth head coach in franchise history. Valavanis and Boucek promptly got to work, trading Shekinna Stricklen and Camille Little to the Connecticut Sun for the #3 and #15 2015 WNBA draft picks, along with Renee Montgomery. Storm free agent Tanisha Wright signed with the New York Liberty, and a month later, Valavanis shipped the #15 pick to the Mystics for Quanitra Hollingsworth and the #20 pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft. Valavanis also signed Australian forward Abby Bishop that month.
Fast forward to April 2015, the month of the WNBA Draft, where Seattle now held the #1, #3, #20 and #26 picks. Days before the draft, Notre Dame guard Jewell Loyd and Minnesota center Amanda Zahui B. shook up the draft order, both forgoing NCAA eligibility and declaring for the WNBA Draft. On April 16, 2015, Seattle drafted Jewell Loyd #1, UCONN sharpshooter Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis #3, Vicky McIntyre #20 and Nneka Enemkpali #26 in the 2015 WNBA Draft. After having the worst record in the WNBA the Storm ended up with the first overall pick again using it to select Breanna Stewart from the University of Connecticut.
In the 2016 season, Seattle went on an impressive run after the Olympic Break to make the playoffs with a 16-18 record, before falling to Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs.
The Storm name was chosen because of Seattle's reputation as a rainy city, as well as the aggressive nature implicit in the name. Though the team conducted an exhaustive trademark search for options, Storm was always their preferred choice. The name had once been trademarked by an amateur soccer club, FC Seattle Storm, in the mid-1980s, but by 2000 it was free for the WNBA to take ownership. The team had planned a formal announcement, along with a presentation of the logo and official team colors, at a January 2000 gala event for the inaugural season ticket holders. However, a Miami newspaper revealed the name two weeks early while announcing all four of that season's expansion franchises.
The logo features an iconic Seattle landmark, the Space Needle, set against the backdrop of a storm cloud. In dynamic font and fashion, the team name stretches in an angled rise from left to right. Pointed jags meant to evoke lightning bolts streak through the team name from right to left. A basketball orbits the Space Needle through the cloud.
In January 2016, the team revealed a branding update with a change to the official team colors. The logo retains the same design but uses the new color scheme.
Like a number of early WNBA teams, the Storm were owned by their NBA counterpart, the Seattle SuperSonics, and closely related to the team. Taking their cue from the Sonics' team colors at the time, known colloquially as the "wine and pine" era of the team, the Storm's original team colors were pine green, maroon red, bronze, and white. When a new ownership group led by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz purchased the Sonics and Storm in 2001, the NBA club rebranded with the traditional green and golden yellow colors that had identified the team for the majority of its 41 years. The Storm, however, retained their colors as a way to uniquely market the team. Following another change of ownership in 2006, the team was then sold to Force 10 Hoops LLC in 2008 when the Oklahoma City interests that owned the Sonics announced intentions to relocate the NBA club to the Sooner State. Force 10 also retained the original colors.
The January 2016 branding update changed the official team colors. Adopting a scheme similar to their former NBA brother team, the new colors are green and yellow. White and grey will feature as accent colors.
Following disagreements between the Basketball Club of Seattle (the former owners of the Sonics and Storm) and the city of Seattle concerning the need to renovate the KeyArena, the Seattle SuperSonics and the Seattle Storm were sold to an Oklahoma City group led by Clay Bennett on July 18, 2006. Bennett made it clear that the Sonics and Storm would move to Oklahoma City at some point after the 2007–08 NBA season, unless an arena for the Sonics was approved by Seattle leaders before October 31, 2007. During this period of uncertainty, the Storm announced that they would play their 2008 WNBA season in Seattle at KeyArena.
On January 8, 2008, Bennett sold the team to a Seattle group of women called Force 10 Hoops, LLC. The sale was given unanimous approval from the WNBA Board of Governors on February 28, 2008. This keeps the team in Seattle and disconnected it from the Sonics, which was dissolved with the 'new' basketball franchise and assets relocated to Oklahoma City.
On April 21, 2010, the Storm and the WNBA announced a sponsor agreement with Bing, a search engine from Microsoft, to place the company's logo on their jerseys for the 2010 season. The Bing sponsorship ended after the 2013 season, and the Storm played without a sponsor for two seasons, before signing a new uniform deal with Swedish Medical Center for the 2016 season.
In June 2011, President of the United States Barack Obama invited the 2010 WNBA champion Seattle Storm to the White House. He stated that the franchise provided a good example for young girls with big dreams. He praised the Storm for the community service they perform and stated that being champions did not end when they step off the court. The Storm presented the President with a championship ring.Adia Barnes (2002-2004)
Tully Bevilaqua (2003–2004)
Sandy Brondello (2003), now the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury
Janell Burse (2004–2007, 2009)
Edna Campbell (2000)
Swin Cash (2008–2011)
Izi Castro Marques (2005–2007)
Simone Edwards (2000–2005), now an assistant coach at Radford University
Yolanda Griffith (2008)
Sonja Henning (2000–2002)
Lauren Jackson (2001–2012)
Shannon Johnson (2009)
Betty Lennox (2004–2007)
Camille Little (2008–2014), now a member of the Phoenix Mercury
Michelle Marciniak (2001–2002), now an assistant coach for the University of South Carolina
Renee Montgomery (2015), now a member of the Minnesota Lynx
Wendy Palmer (2006–2007)
Semeka Randall (2001–2002), now the head coach at Ohio University
Angel Robinson (2014–2016)
Sheri Sam (2004)
Katie Smith (2011–2012), now an assistant coach of the New York Liberty
Sheryl Swoopes (2008)
Alicia Thompson (2004–2005)
Tina Thompson (2012-2013), now an assistant coach for the Texas Longhorns
Le'coe Willingham (2010–2011)
Tanisha Wright (2005–2014), now a member of the New York Liberty
Kamila Vodichkova (2000–2004)
Charmin Smith (2000–2001)
Barry Ackerley, owner of the Seattle SuperSonics (2000–2001)
Howard Schultz, owner of the Seattle SuperSonics (2001–2006)
Clay Bennett, owner of the Seattle SuperSonics (2007)
Force 10 Hoops LLC, composed of Dawn Trudeau, Lisa Brummel, Ginny Gilder (2008–present)
Lin Dunn (2000–2002)
Billy McKinney (2002–2003)
Karen Bryant (2004–2010)
Brian Agler (2011–2014)
Alisha Valavanis (2015–present)
Anne Donovan (2004–2007)
Brian Agler (2008–2010)
Kathy Anderson (2000–2001)
Missy Bequette (2000–2001)
Gary Kloppenburg (2000–2002, 2017-present)
Carrie Graf (2002)
Jenny Boucek (2003–2005, 2010–2014)
Jessie Kenlaw (2003–2006)
Heidi VanDerveer (2006–2007)
Shelley Patterson (2007–2009)
Nancy Darsch (2008–2013)
Shaquala Williams (2014)
Rob Fodor (2015)
Ryan Webb (2015–present)
Leah Drury (2016)
Currently, some Storm games are broadcast on KONG, which is a local television station for the area of Seattle. More often than not, NBA TV will pick up the feed from the local broadcast, which is shown nationally. Broadcasters for the Storm games are Dick Fain and Adia Barnes.
All games (excluding blackout games, which are available on ESPN3.com) are broadcast to the WNBA LiveAccess game feeds on the league website. Furthermore, some Storm games are broadcast nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. The WNBA has reached an eight-year agreement with ESPN, which will pay rights fees to the Storm, as well as other teams in the league.