A Look Back at Sue Bird’s Career


Sue Bird calls it quits after an incredible 20-year WNBA career. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Sue Bird’s illustrious career ended on Sept. 6 as the Seattle Storm lost a decisive game four in the WNBA semifinals to the Las Vegas Aces by a score of 97-92. Although Bird’s playing career has come to a close, her impact on the WNBA will forever be apparent. Her presence was felt from the moment she stepped foot in the league, and it never diminished  during her 20-year career. 

Sue Bird entered the WNBA in 2002 after being drafted first overall to the Seattle Storm following her outstanding college career with the University of Connecticut Huskies. It didn’t take long for Bird to make her mark in the league, averaging 14 points and six assists during her rookie season. She was also the only player on the Storm roster to start all 32 games and landed herself on the All-WNBA first team. She finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting, right behind Indiana Fever small forward Tamika Catchings. 

The 2002 season served only as a base for the phenomenal career Bird went on to have. The accolades she achieved could be listed forever, including winning four WNBA championships in three different decades (2004, 2010, 2018, 2020), five Olympic gold medals and holding the all-time WNBA assists record, just to name a few. At the core of Bird’s career, it’s obvious that she’s just a winner. She knows how to win when it counts and the cards are stacked against her. 

Bird’s playing career only scratches the surface of her character. She is a devoted activist who has won several humanitarian awards including the Moyer Foundation Award and Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Connecticut’s Changemaker Award. One of the biggest accomplishments of Bird’s career is her work as Vice President of the WNBA Players Union and making the 2020 WNBA season safely happen during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also used her position to advocate for social justice issues suggesting that messages be shown on jerseys and on the courts to shine light on issues that America faces. On the court for what is now called the “Wubble” season because of its quarantined nature, “Black Lives Matter” was displayed on the sidelines. 

Bird’s also a founder of the media company TOGETHXR, a platform aimed to bring more attention to women in sports. The company was also founded by star athletes Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim and Simone Manuel. Its Instagram account has surpassed 100,000 followers in under two years and consistently brings content from the world of women’s sports, including popular stories surrounding things such as the WNBA and NWSL and stories highlighting younger athletes making differences in their own right. 

As Bird signs off on her WNBA career, humility is still at her center. Directly after the Storm’s loss to the Aces, she was asked how it felt to walk off the court for a final time. “I’m so, so, so proud to be a member of the Seattle Storm,” she said. “It has been my honor to play for this franchise, to play for these fans.”

As for regrets, Bird knows this is the right time for her career to come to a close, saying, “Of course my body feels good, so that can trick ya, but there’s a reason why I felt comfortable and I felt confident in this being my last year. Being able to say that out loud was a big hurdle. Once I kind of jumped over that, I knew I did the right thing because of how I felt afterward.”

Sue Bird’s name will forever be synonymous with the greatest athletes to play the game, and while she will be missed on the court, the contributions she has made to the game will continuously be felt as new generations enter the league.