Storm

Sue Bird Reaches Pinnacle: A Thank You To Seattle’s GOAT

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Dear Sue Bird,

You’ve impacted the game of basketball on so many levels. From an early age, you left an incredible mark on the game of basketball. None can doubt the impact you have had on many during your last year as a professional basketball player. In your college days, playing for your country, and in the WNBA, you’ve touched so many fans.

UCONN Inspire With Your Game

Your impact on the game of basketball started in college with the UCONN Huskies. You didn’t immediately impact Connecticut’s winning tradition but inevitably contributed to it. The championship during your sophomore year proved an injury wouldn’t stop you from winning.

During your four years at Connecticut, you formed bonds with your teammates, and Diana Taurasi was your closest ally. You played in a way that inspired home fans, regardless of the stats and championships you won. Young girls like Holly McCarthy wanted to be you when they grew up and played basketball because of you. “Playing in my local Parks and Rec league, I always wore my hair in a ponytail and always tried to get the number 10, and if I didn’t, I would write ’10’ on my sneakers.” McCarthy also played point guard because of you.

McCarthy admired how you played the game and watched UCONN with her family after school, enjoying your leadership presence and smile while on the court. “Any time you had the ball in your hand, something great was going to happen.” Your shot to beat Notre Dame 78-76 is the play that lives in Husky fans’ minds. McCarthy says you are an elite UCONN player because of that score to win the conference title. “In the Big East Championship game, with just seconds left, Sue Bird takes the ball, runs it up the court, goes to the left in the paint, and hits the game-winning shot to beat the Irish 78-76. That game was incredible…” Connecticut fans will remember your contribution to the game and your passion and enjoyment while playing and winning championships.

Sue Is Seattle’s Bird

After college, you were drafted first overall to the Seattle Storm in 2002. You joined your long-time teammate Lauren Jackson, and your first taste of success came in 2004 when you won the franchise’s first championship. You won another title in 2010, your last with Jackson.

When Jackson left your nest, you welcomed a fellow UCONN Husky great in Breanna Stewart, a natural-born winner. With two WNBA championships in 2018 and 2020 and a commissioner’s cup win in 2021, Stewart has helped add to your success with the Storm. The core you built in Seattle with Stewie and Jewell Loyd helped keep the dynasty alive in the Emerald City.

Your leadership inspired fans worldwide, including Storm fan Jennifer Imler. You showed girls like Imler they could do anything just by the leadership you showed on the court playing with Jackson. “She has impacted me in many ways, she showed me as a kid that I could do anything. She is and always will be my favorite player because she has such a strong leadership role with her team.” Girls like Imler emulated your leadership as they pursued basketball to become like you.

Imler remembers meeting you when she was 12 and how you made her feel important and special. Throughout the past 21 years for Seattle, you’ve done so much for women’s basketball and inspired young girls to never give up. “Thank you for making every little girl feel like they matter, no matter what they look like or where they come from.” Your impact on the Storm lasted over 20 years, but you also inspired fans worldwide.

Bird’s Golden Impact Around The World

Throughout your 20-plus years of playing basketball, you have profoundly impacted Connecticut, the city of Seattle, and your country. With your UCONN teammate Taurasi, you and Team USA won five gold medals with 38 wins and 0 losses. Your effect on the Olympic stage peaked in 2021 when you were chosen to be the flag bearer for the Olympics. This honor made you and your coach, Dawn Staley, the only flag bearers in USA basketball history. In addition to winning five gold medals, you and Taurasi became the first players in USA Basketball history to do so.

https://twitter.com/usabasketball/status/1417806653827678208?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1417806653827678208%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.swishappeal.com%2Fwnba%2F2022%2F6%2F20%2F23175194%2Fsue-bird-retirement-announcement-wnba-news-roundtable-mask-flag-bearer-no-look

Sue, your impact in the WNBA and worldwide goes beyond the wins and the records. You’ve proven basketball is more than just a game. Seattle showed you how much you mean with their “One More Year” chant in Everett last season, and you delivered. Thank you for leaving an indelible mark on basketball, and best wishes on your retirement.

About Brenden Potts

Brenden is an American writer and Washington State University Sport Management student in Pullman Washington. He has less than a year of writing experience getting started with The Lead. He writes about the Seattle Storm for The Lead.

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