UConn legend Sue Bird will play her final regular-season game in Connecticut on Thursday, as the Seattle Storm head to Mohegan Sun Arena to face the Sun.
While playing with the Huskies from 1998-2002, Bird won two national titles. The state holds a special place in her heart, and she still remembers when the WNBA first came to Connecticut in 2003, in her second season in the league.
“There was now a game on the schedule where I was going to have that little bit of a homecoming,” Bird told the Hartford Courant. “It’s been something that has been really special.”
Bird and the Storm played in their first WNBA Finals against the Sun in 2004. At the first game of the series in Connecticut, the star player spotted what she described as an “anti-Sue, anti-Storm” poster, a splash of cold water for the Husky, who had become accustomed to friendly crowds in the state.
Looking back, though, the moment stands out as one of her favorite memories from throughout her many meetings with the Sun.
“At first I was like, ‘Well, that kind of hurts my feelings. I thought this was my home,’” Bird said. “But then I also had a moment where I was like, ‘Well, that’s actually pretty amazing,’ because there’s Connecticut Sun fans, right? And that was like the start, I think, of this franchise building its fan base.”
Seattle went on to win its first WNBA championship that year, the first of four that Bird has won during her 21-year career with the Storm.
“I am very proud of the things I’ve been able to accomplish on the court, and it started at UConn, right?” she continued. “I always say that’s where the foundation of who I am as a player, as a person was really established and developed, and I was able to build on top of that as I went through my career.”