SEATTLE ( Associated Press) — Now that a little time has passed, Sue Bird knows she made the right decision by publicly announcing what she knows on the inside — that this will be her last season.
But the emotions that are likely to come when she plays what could be her final game in Seattle? The bird has no idea what it will be like.
“I’m looking forward to it. That’s for sure,” she said. “I know it’s going to be a really special day. Am I ready for this? I guess we’ll see. It’s going to be a lot, in all good ways.”
Bird will play the final regular-season home game of his career on Sunday when the Seattle Storm host the Las Vegas Aces. Storm secure playoff spot, but with new playoff format of WNBAThere is no guarantee that the Storm will end with home play in the first round.
Seattle is currently ranked fourth behind Washington with one week left in the regular season.
So if the Storm doesn’t end up seeing their home turf again in the playoffs, Sunday is the day Bird is brought in for her remarkable career. Members of Seattle’s previous championship teams are expected to be in attendance. There will be a pregame ceremony. And the largest crowd in hurricane history – more than 18,000 at the Climate Pledge Arena – is expected.
“What she’s been able to do on and off the court in her career is phenomenal and I don’t think they’ll ever be anyone like her,” said former Seattle teammate Lauren Jackson. Said this week. “I think the legacy she left on the sport, and the one she will leave on the sport, is huge. But I’m really excited to see what she does next.”
The WNBA’s oldest player, 41-year-old Bird, announced in June that it would be his final season before retiring. The decision was expected, especially after Bird had been flirting with the idea of returning for a 19th season on the court after the previous season and with Seattle missing for a 21st season overall, missing two seasons due to injuries. Went.
She would end her career as one of the most decorated players of all time: four WNBA titles, five Olympic gold medals, countless WNBA records that could never be matched and one of the greatest female players during a golden generation. recognized as one of the League.
“If you want to talk to the best generation (the league) is still very young, so we can revisit that conversation in like 20, 30, 40, 50 years,” Bird said. “But as it stands now, I feel really lucky to have played in the generation I was in, and I think a big part is probably going to go down as the best, most talented.”
When Seattle’s season ended last year at home with a playoff loss to Phoenix and Storm fans, “Another year!” The passionate plea resonates with Bird. She has cited that moment several times over the past year as a partial reason for her decision to return.
But in a sign of how at peace Bird is with her decision, she said that when listening to the mantra now, her primary thought is, “Good effort. See you later,” she joked.
Another sign that Bird knows he has made the right decision is when he presses the button to announce his decision. Immediately, the question of whether she would play again, and with it an unknown weight hung over her.
This led to more open and honest conversations with competitors, former teammates and fans without dancing around the uncomfortable unknown as the final days of his career draw closer.
“These were other cool byproducts that I didn’t expect. Much of it comes in the form of people being able to share moments with me, or memories with me. Your companions are probably the most meaningful,” Bird said. . “Players on the other team share things with me, whether it’s a real moment or how I inspired them, how they looked at me, ‘How the WNBA wouldn’t be the same without you. I didn’t do this to get it. But it’s been really good. And it really helps. It’s part of my own closure and when it’s all said and done it will help me move on. ,
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