By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer
The WNBA seems to always take a backseat to the NBA and other sports that air during its season. Because of this, some phenomenal athletes are rarely seen and rarely known of. One of the female athletes many people need to learn about is Sue Bird, who has accomplished more in her career than most ever will.
Having won more championships than most athletes could ever dream of, it’s important to recognize Bird’s greatness, because otherwise, she will just slip into the past. We are constantly reminded of male athlete greats, but that rarely happens with female athletes. Sure, just about everyone knows of Serena Williams and her dominance in the tennis world, but because the WNBA is consistently put on the backburner, we rarely get to witness how truly talented the players are.
Bird was drafted at No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm in 2002 after exiting college with multiple championships at the University of Connecticut. At 37 years old, she is the oldest player in the league, recently played in her 500th career game and led the Storm to a WNBA title this season. She also leads the WNBA in assists and is one of the most passionate teammates and players, because of how much she plays the game and fights to stay in it. Over her entire WNBA career of 16 seasons, Bird has started every single game she has played in.
When Bird joined the Storm, it was not a team set to win the title. After two seasons of Bird being in Seattle, the team won the championship with her starting in all eight post-season games. That would not be the last of her career as she won again in 2010 and in this season to have three rings.
Bird ended this season with 508 career games under her belt and is ranked at No. 7 for WNBA all-time scorers in the regular season with 6,154 points. When it comes to assists, the next active player, Diana Taurasi, is almost 1,000 assists away from catching up to Bird and ranks No. 5 all-time in steals with 652, according to the WNBA.
This season in the WNBA finals, the Storm swept the Washington Mystics in three games. Bird finished the third game with a double-double consisting of 10 assists and 10 points to help secure the victory. After winning her third championship, she spoke about how even though she has had so many successful career moments, this years was still different after the team went through multiple years of moving personnel to make a championship squad.
“Our team went through a rebuild, and yes, I decided to stay,” Bird said. “So it’s incredible to be sitting here right now, I was just saying this earlier, I really believe it just came to me. This is probably going to be one of the defining moments of my career to have played however many years I’ve been playing, to have won in all these places, but then to do it at the end in such a way that was different from all the others, it’s really incredible.”
Bird has already announced that she plans on coming back for her 17th season in the WNBA. Outside of the WNBA, Bird also has an accomplished resume that furthers her greatness: four-time Olympic gold medalist with consistent victories from 2004-2016, three-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist and is the sixth player to ever win an NCAA Championship, a WNBA Championship and an Olympic gold medal.
As a 10-time WNBA all-star, Bird has made herself worthy of being known to the world. Her dominance throughout the years and loyalty to the rebuilding Seattle Storm also show how truly great she is. It is rare to find players willing to go through so many losing seasons and have the patience to finally get a winning one.
Even the some of the best NBA players recognized her for her performance in the finals as she added the championship to her long list of accomplishments.
Next time a WNBA game is on, make sure to tune in because you may witness some of the greatest athletes, like Sue Bird, dominating at the highest level.
Adam is a senior journalism major from McKinney.