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Sue Bird says fans ‘changed my perspective’ on retiring from WNBA

Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images

Sue Bird is returning to the Seattle Storm for her 19th and final WNBA season, confirming the news in January with a post to her social media account.

The decision wasn’t an easy one for Bird, with a powerful interaction with Storm fans ultimately swaying the 41-year-old to return for a final campaign. The moment occurred after Seattle’s September playoff loss to the Phoenix Mercury as Bird swapped jerseys with close friend Diana Taurasi. While being interviewed by ESPN’s Holly Rowe, a chant broke out across the Storm crowd, “One more year!”

Bird admits that the support from fans may have altered the trajectory of her career.

“It really didn’t hit me in that moment until the fans chanted,” Bird told ESPN “And then I was like, ‘Oh, they know it, too? They’re sensing this also?’ It’s weird because it immediately changed my perspective. Had the buzzer gone off and I just went home, I probably would have retired.”

The Seattle star admits on her drive home from the game, which could have been her last, she experienced a “wide range of emotions,” even shedding some tears.

In the days following the 2021 season, Bird continued to waver, weighing whether or not to retire, but when she texted her trainer, Susan Borchardt asking if she should keep working out “just in case,” she knew she would most likely make one final run.

Seattle will boast a stacked roster for Bird’s final season, including Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, and Mercedes Russell. The team also added Connecticut guard Briann January during WNBA free agency signings.

Bird will look to add another WNBA championship to end her career, adding to her resume, which includes four WNBA titles and five Olympic gold medals.