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WNBA legend Sue Bird announces 2022 will be final season

WNBA legend Sue Bird announces 2022 will be final season
Seattle Storm legend Sue Bird announced Thursday that the 2022 WNBA season would be her last, ending a historic career that started all the way back at the high school level. (Credit: Mary Holt/USA TODAY Sports)

SEATTLE (BVM) – On Thursday, one of the best women’s basketball players to ever play confirmed that she was preparing to hang up the shoes. Seattle Storm star Sue Bird announced that the 2022 WNBA season would be her final playing basketball, putting an end to perhaps the best career in league history.

“I’ve decided this will be my final year,” Bird wrote. “I have loved every single minute, and still do, so gonna play my last year, just like this little girl played her first.”

Bird has been elite for as long as she’s played the game all the way back at the prep level. Playing at Christ the King High School in Queens, New York, Bird became one of the best players in the country, helping the team win two state titles and being named the MVP of the 1998 state tournament. This success led Bird to the University of Connecticut under legendary head coach Geno Auriemma.

At UConn, Bird quickly became one of the best players at the college level and her career still remains among the best in program history for a team that has been filled with iconic players. During her four years playing for the Huskies, Bird would play in 118 games averaging 11.7 points, 5.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 48.1% from the field and 45.9% from 3-point range. By the time her career ended, Bird had become one of only two players at UConn to amass more than 1,000 points, 500 assists and 200 steals in her career and was UConn’s all-time leader in 3-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage.

Unsurprisingly, the accolades came with Bird’s success. A two-time NCAA champion, including helping the Huskies to an undefeated 2002 season, Bird was a two-time All-American, won the Wade Trophy in 2002 and was named the 2002 Associated Press and Naismith player of the year as well as being selected three times as winner of the Conseco/Nancy Lieberman-Cline national point guard of the year award.

Following her time at UConn, Bird would be selected No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm in the 2002 WNBA Draft. This would be the start of a career that has been nothing short of legendary. Over the course of 20 seasons in the WNBA, all with Seattle, Bird has become a 12-time WNBA all-star, a five-time all-WNBA first team member, a four-time WNBA champion, and was named to the 2000’s WNBA all-decade team.

Sue Bird WNBA Championship Seattle Storm
Bird is a 12-time WNBA all-star, a five-time all-WNBA first team member, a four-time WNBA champion, and was named to the 2000’s WNBA all-decade team. (Credit: Mary Holt/USA TODAY Sports)

In addition to her accolades, Bird has also set a number of league records including becoming the only WNBA player to appear in 500 career games, being the all-time record holder for career starts and career assists and becoming the first player in WNBA history to score 5,000 career points and record 2,000 assists. She also has the most seasons with over 300 points in league history with 15, tying Tina Thompson for the most all-time. She has been recognized as a member of the WNBA’s top 15, top 20 and top 25 greatest players throughout her illustrious career as well.

Incredibly, those accomplishments are only what Bird has done in the WNBA. Her legacy playing for Team USA is also historic beyond measure. Bird is a five-time Olympic gold medalist with USAB and a four-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist as well. With her selection to the 2018 FIBA World Championship team, Bird became the only U.S. athlete in history to roster in five different World Championship competitions (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018). Her historic career is also rare as she is just one of nine players to have ever earned an NCAA title, WNBA title and Olympic Gold Medal in their careers.

Sue Bird Team USA Gold Medal USA Basketball
Bird is one of just nine players to ever win an NCAA title, a WNBA title and an Olympic Gold Medal in their career. (Credit: Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

As of this writing, the 41-year old has played in 559 career games, starting all of them, and has averaged 11.9 points, 5.6 assists and 2.6 rebounds throughout the course of her 20 year career. Given her massive amounts of accomplishments and her impact on the WNBA and women’s basketball as a whole, Bird is a guaranteed hall of famer when her time comes.

With her retirement looming, the WNBA and the world of women’s basketball will not be the same once Bird leaves the game. While her play on the court may end, her far reaching impact on the sport will never be forgotten. As she enters the twilight of her career, WNBA fans and basketball fans alike can rejoice in the fact they were able to watch Sue Bird, a legend, play the game at its highest level.