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Sue Bird on New York homecoming: ‘I will really remember forever’

Sue Bird talks to ESPN reporter Holly Rowe. Bird plans to retire at the end of this season. (Mary Kate Ridgway)

All eyes were on Sue Bird as the New York native took the court for the final time in front of a hometown crowd at the Barclays Center on Sunday.

The New York fans showered the 41-year-old with a standing ovation as Bird drained the game-sealing 3-pointer for a win against the Liberty in an emotional farewell.

Bird announced Thursday that she would be retiring at the end of the season, kickstarting the goodbye tour for the WNBA legend.

“I think part of announcing you’re going to retire gives fans a chance to say hi, wear your jersey, rep you one last time,” Bird said after her announcement.

Seattle’s Friday game against Connecticut at Mohegan Sun Arena and Sunday’s matchup at the Barclays Center were of particular interest for Bird, with both outings a homecoming for the UConn alumnus.

“When the schedule comes out, there are two games I circle mentally, the New York game and the Connecticut game, and that’s because they feel like homecomings, I know that I am going to get the support, I know I am going to be able to play in front of people that really watched me grow up and that’s really special to me,” Bird said ahead of her East Coast swing.

The Big Apple certainly showed out for Bird, with the Liberty wearing warm-up T-shirts donning the message, “Thank you, Sue. Love, New York.” An extended video tribute for Bird also played on the big screen at the Barclays Center ahead of Sunday’s contest.

The New York Liberty's Didi Richards wears a shirt honoring the Seattle Storm's Sue Bird during warm-ups Sunday, June 19, in New York. (Mary Kate Ridgway)

After the game, Bird addressed the crowd, speaking with ESPN reporter Holly Rowe on the court, “I want to thank the New York Liberty, they really showed me a lot of love. To all the fans that came out, thank you so much.”

Sinking three of her seven attempted 3-pointers, Bird capped off her New York basketball career in storybook fashion, notching 11 points and four assists.

“It was really special, right from warmups. … That three-pointer at the end, I will really remember forever,” Bird said in the post-game press conference.