Legendary WNBA point guard Sue Bird closed her historic career with an exceptional game. Despite a 97-92 loss to the Las Vegas Aces during Game 4 of the semifinal series on Sept. 6, 2022, crowds chanted and applauded the Seattle Storm player.
Sue Bird Retires After Seattle Storm Playoff Loss
“Obviously, so thankful for 20 years here. I’m gonna miss it so much. I’m not going anywhere, but I’m gonna miss it. I wish we could have done a little bit more to get to the Finals, but I’m so proud of this team, this year. I am so, so, so proud to be a member of the Seattle Storm. It has been my honor to play for this franchise, to play for these fans,” Bird told ESPN’s Holly Rowe in a televised postgame interview as reported by yahoosports.com.
Aside from her record-breaking career with basketball, Bird is also known for speaking up on social issues. An advocate for women’s voices and the LGBTQ+ community, Bird has changed the conversation for many. In honor of her retirement, let’s take a look at her accomplishments.
1. She’s One of the Most Successful Athletes of All Time
The all-star Olympian is regarded as one of the most successful athletes of all time and a legendary figure of the WNBA.
Born in Syosset, New York, the athlete fell in love with basketball at age six after attending a New York Knicks game. She succeeded in the high school, collegiate, Olympic and professional levels of basketball.
Her most significant accomplishments include being a four-time WNBA champion with the Seattle Storm, a four-time FIBA World Cup champion with Team USA and a four-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA. She’s the first player ever to win four championships at the FIBA World Cup.
2. She Works to Elevate Women’s Voices
Sue Bird is using her platform to support the next generation of women in sports. Bird formed TOGETHERX, a media and commerce company, with other powerhouse athletes including national soccer star Alex Morgan, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and Olympic swimmer Simone Manuel. The women came together to create a platform that supports equal representation in sports. The company’s about page states, “We shatter the often narrow depictions of women in media with content featuring a diverse and inclusive community of game-changers, culture shapers, thought leaders, and barrier breakers.”
“I got drafted in 2002, so almost 20 years ago, and there were really just cookie-cutter options [for publications]. I’m not going to name names, but you felt like you had to fit in certain boxes in order to be considered [for coverage] or to have your story told,” Bird said in an interview with HarpersBazaar.com. “[To have] something like TOGETHXR back then, it would have blown my mind. It would have probably blown a lot of people’s minds. Right now is the right time to really take all of the conversations we’re having to another level, and TOGETHXR can be that medium that helps do it.”
3. Sue Bird is a Voice for the LGBTQ+ Community
Bird has frequently spoken about the importance of having queer representation in sports. She said it’s something she wishes she had growing up.
“Just speaking as a gay athlete, that’s how I feel our society kind of ran. And so as a little kid, you internalize that. Imagine a world where you can see that, yes, my story is about my sexuality, but there are so many other stories that could apply to you. Imagine if I could have seen a world where being gay didn’t have any kind of negative effect,” she told HarpersBazaar.com.
You might also like these stories about inspiring athletes:
- Five reasons we’re endlessly inspired by Serena Williams
- Carl Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay
- Washington Spirit soccer player Kumi Yokoyama comes out as trans
Lead image credit: Image of Sue Bird bringing the ball down the court in the Minnesota Lynx vs. Seattle Storm game at Target Center on Aug. 12, 2018. Photo by Lorie Shaull is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.