Sue Bird has been part of the WNBA since 2002, and she’s 37 years old. She’s also kicking all kinds of ass and remaining an inspiration to players the world over. Consistently demanding her sport and her team be taken seriously, Bird has been a huge voice in the WNBA.
Just last week, she once again led the Seattle Storm to victory in the post season. In the last few minutes, he performance in the final game of the season was absolutely otherworldly. She threw long threes, had fast-break layups going to the hole and generally made a fool of anyone who doubted her.
Sue Bird on the WNBA in 2018
Sue Bird’s dominance well into her thirties should be inspiring for anyone, but it’s doubly so for women looking to break into sports. The WNBA has hardly gotten the respect the NBA is afforded, but athletes like bid have worked to fix that. When Bird joined the WNBA in 2002, it was a different world. Athletes joining the league today are experiencing a very different reality than Bird did, however.
“What you have is players who have grown up with the WNBA, so it’s a part of their norm and everyday life, where it wasn’t a part of mine,” Bird stated in an interview before Game 3. “They have social media, and they’re used to using it as a voice. So what you’re getting is outspoken players. I think it’s a great thing.”
Bird, who just finished her 16th season, has meant a lot for the sport. Her grounded, thoughtful attitude and enduring popularity among fans have made her a mainstay of the WNBA. Her outspoken support for addressing the issues of salary discrepancy in the league has also made her a favorite of her fellow players.
What really has her colleagues in the league talking, though, is her prowess on the field. “It’s the control. You can’t get her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. You can’t speed her up or slow her down,” Alana Beard, the Defensive Player of the Year says of Bird. “One thing I notice with her, you gotta pressure her, make her feel you the entire game. Hopefully at the end she’s too tired to do anything, but that’s never the case.”
Bird’s showing no signs of slowing down, either. She’s putting up crazy numbers in assists and remaining an anchor for the Seattle Storm. She looks ready to rock again next season, on a team loaded with hungry young talent looking to make names for themselves. As an athlete, a mentor and a face of women’s basketball, Bird has so much more still to offer the sport. And we love it.