Sue Bird is ‘pretty sure’ this WNBA season will be her last

(Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Sue Bird is getting ready to hang up her sneakers, with the WNBA veteran telling Kelley O’Hara on the latest episode of The Players’ Pod that this season will “probably” be her last.

“I am pretty sure it’s just one more time. In my attempt to not pull a Tom Brady, I am leaving a tiny crack open to be sure, to be like 100 percent sure,” Bird says, referring to the quarterback’s announcement in March that he was un-retiring to play another season in the NFL.

Bird, 41, initially planned to close out her career last year, on the heels of an Olympic gold medal and a postseason run with the Storm.

“I was pretty tired … so as the season was winding down, we probably had 10 or so games left, and it was just a little voice in the back of my head that was kind of like, ‘It’s been a good ride. Maybe this is it. It’s a good time to go out.’”

Then, something unexpected happened. After the Storm’s season ended in single-elimination playoff loss to the Phoenix Mercury last September, Seattle fans encouraged Bird to return for one final ride. In January, she announced her decision to return for her 19th WNBA season.

“What took me by surprise was that in our last game, which was a playoff game that we lost at home, the fans started chanting, ‘One more year,’” Bird says. “I just didn’t think anyone really knew that I was thinking about it. So when that happened, it took me back, but I also was like, all right.”

At the conclusion of the Storm’s season, Bird figured she would take some time to contemplate her future, but her decision became clear rather quickly.

“I took a couple days. … In those first couple days, like right away, I was like, ‘All right, I am going to do this. I think I might run this back one more time,'” Bird says.

While most people are focused on Bird’s career winding down with each game, the four-time WNBA champion is locked in on her team. The Storm have started the season 3-3, dropping two games to the Mercury while Breanna Stewart was sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols.

“There will be a time, like every player when they retire, there is a time to celebrate it,” Bird says. “That time will come. Until then, it is about the season.”

Listen to the full conversation between Bird and O’Hara on The Players’ Pod.