Sue Bird: ‘No question in my mind’ Diana Taurasi is the GOAT

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

As voting for the WNBA’s “GOAT” gets underway to celebrate the league’s 25th anniversary celebration, Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird knows exactly who her choice is for the honor: Diana Taurasi.

“There’s no question in my mind who it is,” Bird said Tuesday before the Storm hosted the Washington Mystics. “I know that there might be some bias there, which I totally own — maybe even generational bias just because I’ve been able to witness her firsthand, been her teammate [at the University of Connecticut and with USA Basketball], been her opponent. Just the way in which she’s played the game.

“I’ve always said it’s really what separates her, I think. Yes, it’s the amazing play. Yes, it’s the championships and the winning, of course. But the other two things are her style and the swag with which she did it and the last thing — which to me is the most important — is the fact that she’s been able to make her teammates better. There’s something about her style that’s infectious. Whoever’s on the court with her raises their game. I think for me that’s why she’s the GOAT.”

Bird, who is also on the WNBA’s Top 25 players of all time list and eligible in the vote, has won a record five Olympic gold medals for the U.S. alongside Taurasi. But she also knows that there have been plenty of great players to take the floor for the WNBA.

“I could sit here and make arguments for everybody,” she said. “Maybe I’m lucky that [Diana Taurasi is] my best friend, because it makes it easier for me to just say her.”

Bird also called Breanna Stewart a “baby GOAT” owing to the fact that Stewart still has a lot of her career left ahead of her. Stewart, Bird and Taurasi were all named to Just Women’s Sports’ own WNBA All-Time top-25, with Taurasi receiving unanimous support from the 30 JWS experts.

“If you took [Breanna Stewart’s] name off and took her age off, you’d think it was a hell of a career, and she’s just getting started,” Bird said. “And obviously, I could talk about Lauren [Jackson] all day. But it doesn’t stop there — I’ve played with Lisa [Leslie], Tina [Thompson]. The list goes on and on, so I’ve been really lucky.”

Still, Bird doesn’t take the debate too seriously, considering it to be a “fun conversation” that could lead to some trash talk or a great conversation starter when out to dinner with friends.

“It’s great that people are having the arguments,” she said.