Seattle Storm star and five-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird announced on Thursday that the 2022 season will be his last in the WNBA.
Bird’s announcement, 41, ended; he had acknowledged in February when he re-signed with Seattle that this would likely be his last season. She seriously considered retiring after last season before choosing to return for a 19th season as a player.
Bird’s announcement came a day before Seattle’s game at Connecticut. The Storm will wrap up its road trip Sunday in New York, about 30 miles from where Bird grew up in Syosset, New York.
“As the season went on, like I said, I pretty much knew, and then once I saw the schedule, and then once I started packing a little bit for this trip, I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to be my last time playing. in New York. My last time playing in front of my family and friends.’ And that’s why the timing of this is what it is.” Bird said in a video. posted by Storm on social media.
“I really felt very strong announcing my retirement, saying that it was my last year so that I could share it with my family and my friends, all the people in New York who have seen me grow up so that they can come and see me play for the last time in my home state. So I’m excited about that. It’s also bittersweet.”
Bird is a four-time WNBA champion, a 12-time All-Star and the oldest player in the league. She has spent her entire WNBA career with Seattle since she became the No. 1 pick in the draft in 2002 following her college career at UConn. This season she is the 21st associated with the franchise, although she is only the 19th playing after missing two seasons due to injuries.
His resume is the envy of anyone in professional sports, let alone basketball. National championships at UConn in 2000 and 2002. WNBA titles with Seattle in 2004, 2008, 2018 and 2020, the last inside the WNBA “bubble” in Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bird lifted an additional five titles while playing abroad in the EuroLeague. Last year, he added a fifth Olympic gold in Tokyo, adding to those obtained by the United States in 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Beijing, 2012 in London and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Bird was the AP National Player of the Year in her final season at UConn. She is a five-time WNBA First Team selection, the league’s all-time assists leader, and the only player to appear in more than 500 games in league history.
She has been honored on every list imaginable as one of the greatest and most influential players in league history. And she is the standard by which other point guards are judged.
Bird turns 42 in October and came close to retiring a year ago. When the Storm were eliminated by the Phoenix Mercury in the playoffs, fans chanted “One more year! One more year!” while doing a televised interview on the court.
Those cheers were buoyed by longtime Phoenix star Diana Taurasi, Bird’s former varsity partner at UConn and part of all five Olympic gold-medal races.
In the end, the fans – and Taurasi – got what they wanted. Bird came back, for exactly one more year.
“Sue Bird is Storm Basketball,” her WNBA team tweeted moments after Bird made her decision known. “Every moment, every memory has a constant. No. 10. It’s time for the final chapter.”