Basketball legend Sue Bird said goodbye to the sport Tuesday night as the Seattle Storm lost to the Las Vegas Aces and advanced to the WNBA Finals.
“It’s sad,” she said in an interview with ESPN after the game. “I’m really thankful for 20 years here. I miss him so much. I’m not going anywhere. But I’m going to forget it.”
As she spoke, fans chanted, “Thank you Sue!” They were singing. At the Seattle Forum.
Bird, 41, announced in June that this season would be her last. She finished with 8 points and 8 rebounds in her last game.
The Aces beat the Storm 97-92 in Game 4 of the best-of-5 semifinal series with Chelsea Gray scoring a team-high 31 points with 10 assists. Breanna Stewart leads Seattle with 42 points, tying Angel McCoughtry in WNBA playoff game.
The Aces will play either the Chicago Sky – the reigning WNBA champions – or the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA Finals. The Sun beat Sky on Tuesday night with 5 wins.
Bird, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 WNBA draft, is the league’s all-time assists leader and a 13-time All-Star.
She played her entire career with the Hurricanes, winning four championships along with five selections to the All-WNBA First Team and 12 All-Star Game appearances.
Bird won championships at every level, most notably with Team USA, where she won five Olympic basketball golds. She was part of four World Cup-winning teams and several trophy-winning teams in the Russian Professional League and Euroleague. In college, she won two NCAA championships at the University of Connecticut. She also won a national title at Christ the King High School in New York, according to the WNBA website.
When she announced her retirement in June, she said she’s looking forward to the things basketball seasons can do for a player, not having to set an alarm for a morning workout and being able to take a real break without watching anything. next year. But she misses out on the “grinding” moments — tough practices and a tough travel schedule — because “you’re still working with a team,” she added.
Her hope, Bird says, is to find something that complements her in that way, but she knows it will be hard to replace the things that are part of life as a professional athlete. “Maybe that’s the thing,” she said cheekily, referring to her ESPN show with Diana Taurasi in the Final Four.
When asked if the ad was for a happy or sad day, she said it was a combination.
“Most people do one thing for their whole lives, not like athletes do,” she said, pointing out that her sporting career, which began when she was 5 or 6 years old, was over. I was so excited and said, “I can start this new life.”