Sue Bird, the winningest player in women’s basketball history, played her final game last night.
The 41-year-old Seattle Storm point guard lost to the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA semifinals in what became the final game of her career at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena.
Bird announced in June that she planned to retire after the 2022 season. And last night’s loss didn’t diminish Seattle’s love for Bird, who brought the WNBA championship home to the Emerald City four times. With the game over, fans filled the arena with chants of “Thank you Sue!”
Bird came out in 2017, shortly after she started dating soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe. The gay sports power couple was engaged in 2020.
The 5’9″ Long Island native was a first round draft pick for the Storm in 2002, following two NCAA Championships with UConn. Bird spent her entire WNBA career with the team and along the way picked up five Olympic gold medals. Bird is also a five-time EuroLeague Women champion and was selected to 12 WNBA All-Star teams and eight All-WNBA teams.
Bird is the WNBA’s all-time leader in assists and games played; she averaged 11.7 points and 5.6 assists per game over 19 seasons with the Storm. Her time with UConn’s Huskies made that team one of the greatest in women’s college basketball history.
In remarks after the final buzzer, Bird was tired but happy.
“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’m so, so, so proud to be a member of the Seattle Storm, and it’s been my honor to play for this franchise, to play for these fans,” Bird told ESPN’s Holly Rowe. As chants of “Thank you Sue!” rose around her, Bird looked up in wonder. “I mean, I don’t know what else to say.”
Still in a daze, Bird added: “I just hope the next person that comes in and plays point guard here can just keep the tradition going. Keep the winning going. Keep that championship level going. Keep these fans happy. Same thing goes for the rest of the team, as well. I hope I made everybody in here proud.”
The roar from the crowd was a resounding “yes.”