WNBA star Sue Bird announces she is retiring from league after 2022 season

Seattle Storm star and five-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird announced on Thursday that the 2022 season will be his last playing in the WNBA.

Bird’s announcement, 41, complete any speculation about his future; she had acknowledged in February when she re-signed with Seattle that this would likely be her last season. She strongly 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 end its road trip on 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 that, and then once I saw the program, then once I started packing for this trip, I I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to be my last time playing in New York. My last time in front of my family and friends. And that’s why the timing is what it is,” Bird said in a video posted by the Storm on social media.

“I really wanted to announce my retirement, saying this was my last year so I could share this with my family and friends, all the people in New York who watched me grow up so they could come to me. to see him play for the last time in my home country. So I’m excited about that. It’s also bittersweet.

Seattle Storm vs. Phoenix Mercury
Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm handles the ball against Sophie Cunningham #9 of the Phoenix Mercury during the first half of the WNBA game at the Footprint Center on May 11, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Getty Images

Bird is a four-time WNBA champion, 12-time All-Star and the league’s oldest player. She has spent her entire WNBA career with Seattle since becoming the No. 1 draft pick in 2002 after her college career at UConn. This season is his 21st with the franchise, although only his 19th after missing two seasons through injury.

His resume is the envy of every professional sportsman, let alone basketball. National championships at UConn in 2000 and 2002. WNBA titles with Seattle in 2004, 2008, 2018 and 2020, the last to enter the WNBA “bubble” in Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bird won five more titles while playing overseas in the EuroLeague. Last year, she added a fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo to accompany those the United States won 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 senior season at UConn. She is a five-time WNBA First Team selection, the league’s all-time leader in assists, and the only player to appear in more than 500 games in league history.

She’s been honored on every list imaginable as one of the best and most influential players in league history. And she is the standard by which other leaders are judged.

Storm-Bird retires from basketball
Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird plays during the first half of the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup basketball game against the Connecticut Sun, Aug. 12, 2021, in Phoenix.

Matt York/AP

Bird turns 42 in October and was set to walk away a year ago. When the Storm was knocked out by the Phoenix Mercury in the playoffs, fans chanted “One more year! One more year!” as she did a TV interview from the field.

Those cheers were encouraged by longtime Phoenix star Diana Taurasi, Bird’s former college teammate at UConn and part of those five Olympic gold medal races.

In the end, the fans – and Taurasi – got what they wanted. Bird returned, for exactly one more year.

“Sue Bird is the Basketball Storm,” 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.”

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