Basketball superstar Sue Bird played her final game of an unrivaled 20-year career. She left the court with resounding “Thank you, Sue” cheers, despite her team losing in the playoffs on Tuesday night. In a heartbreaking conclusion to what Bird had earlier declared would be her final season, the Seattle Storm—for which she has played her whole career—lost to the Las Vegas Aces in Game 4 of their semifinal series.
Talking with ESPN after the game, Sue said, “I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished here. Of course, I’m sad, but there’s happiness too, to be able to have a moment like that with the fans, to have them chant the way they did. I know the tears don’t look like happy tears, but there’s a lot of happiness.”
Basketball in Seattle and across the country has been revolutionized by Bird’s illustrious career. She was named one of the top 25 players in WNBA history last year. Before that, at its 20th-anniversary celebration in 2016, WNBA also named her one of its 20 greatest-ever players at its 20th-anniversary celebration in 2016, and one of its 15 greatest players five years before that).
Among many other accomplishments, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2002 went on to lead the WNBA in assists (more than 3,000) and career starts (549) and was the only player to play in 500 career games. She has competed in a record 12 All-Star games, won four WNBA titles, and helped the United States women’s basketball team win five straight Olympic gold medals.
In her 18 seasons with the Storm (she missed two due to injury), Bird either scored or assisted on over 33% of all Storm baskets, and she contributed to 27.6% of all Storm baskets in team history.
Steph Curry wrote on Twitter, “Take a bow,”.
Pau Gasol, the former NBA legend simply wrote, “Thank You Sue” with a tribute video.
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) September 7, 2022
One of the most important messages was from Megan Rapinoe, Captain of the USA Football Team and Bird’s Fiancé. From her Instagram account, Megan wrote, “The Greatest to ever do it. I am so proud of you.”
Crawford, whose NBA career spanned over a period of more than 20 years, paid tribute to Bird and fellow retiring WNBA player Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx, along with Serena Williams and the recently retired track and field athlete Allyson Felix on his Twitter, “We may never see four of the greatest retire in the same year, from three different sports again. The impact will be felt for generations. Respect.”
We may never see four of the greatest retire in the same year, from three different sports again. The impact will be felt for generations. Respect.
— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) September 7, 2022