#sports activities Sue Bird breaks down in tears on court as WNBA legend retires
The biggest athlete in the historical past of Seattle sports activities – and one of many biggest ladies’s basketball gamers of all time – gracefully handed the torch to the following era on the finish of her embellished profession.
Sue Bird, a 21-year veteran of the WNBA, performed her remaining skilled recreation final night time as her Seattle Storm fell to the Las Vegas Aces 97-92 in Game 4 of the WNBA semifinals. The win earned Vegas their third WNBA finals berth in franchise historical past.
Once the little lady from Syosset, New York – who grew to become a two-time champion with the UConn Huskies, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, and a four-time champion in Seattle – Bird retires tied with 5 others for many WNBA crowns in a profession. That contains ladies’s basketball icons like Sheryl Swoopes, Seimone Augustus, and fellow UConn Husky Maya Moore.
Bird made a layup with 21.8 seconds remaining to make issues a 4 level recreation, which ended up being the ultimate shot of her profession. In the tip, Seattle simply could not preserve the Aces off the free throw line and the Storm’s season ended in entrance of the house crowd.
Sue Bird, a 21-year WNBA veteran, and certainly one of its most embellished, referred to as it a profession Tuesday
Bird’s shot with 21.8 seconds to go introduced the Storm inside 4, however they could not shut the hole
This time there have been tears, on the court and in the stands. The finality of the state of affairs lastly hitting Sue Bird and the 1000’s that confirmed up hoping to see her profession proceed for not less than 40 extra minutes.
‘Kinda bizarre. Definitely surreal. I feel initially … I felt unhappy concerning the season and the sport. And I then suppose as the feelings began to return to the floor that was additionally what I do know deep down in that was my final recreation,’ Bird stated.
Vegas guard Chelsea Gray was just too good, scoring 15 of her 31 factors in the fourth quarter as the Aces received the best-of-five sequence 3-1, all of the video games tense, pressure-packed and full of spectacular shot-making.
The Aces ended up making extra, most notably Gray, who made 5 of six pictures down the stretch and scored 12 of the ultimate 20 factors for the Aces.
‘I do not suppose anybody on planet Earth can guard her,’ Seattle coach Noelle Quinn stated. ‘She was unconscious.’
Bird bought swept up in the emotion, giving a tearful interview earlier than strolling off the court
It would be the third Finals look in franchise historical past for Las Vegas. The Aces misplaced to Seattle in 2020 in the WNBA bubble performed in Florida, and the franchise reached the Finals in 2008 whereas nonetheless in San Antonio, shedding to Detroit.
‘It’s sort of just like the lady that beat Serena (Williams). It’s bittersweet,’ Aces coach Becky Hammon stated. ‘I do know myself and our employees and group and group have a lot respect for Sue. She’s had a fairytale profession, one that youngsters dream of. She bought to stay it.’
Breanna Stewart tied the WNBA playoff report with 42 factors, simply the fifth participant to attain 40 or extra in a postseason recreation, and Jewell Loyd added 29. But Seattle didn’t discover a third scorer and the Aces had a solution for each cost Seattle made after Las Vegas surged in entrance early in the second half.
The Aces will get the highlight in the Finals. On this night time, the aftermath of the end result was all about Bird and the conclusion to her 20 years as a pillar to the Storm franchise and the WNBA.
Bird stayed on the court after the ultimate buzzer, receiving hugs from the whole Aces roster. She wiped away tears whereas the group cheered and cried alongside along with her, and chanted ‘Thank you, Sue.’
Seattle’s followers chanted ‘Thank you Sue’ as essentially the most completed athlete in their city’s historical past walked off the ground for one remaining time
‘I additionally wished to sort of have one final second to say thanks, to soak all of it in as a result of in some methods, it’s a glad factor,’ Bird stated. ‘I’m happy with of every part we have completed right here.’
The oldest participant in the league at age 41, Bird began the 12 months considering she’d retire, however introduced finality to the choice halfway by way of the common season.
Las Vegas spoiled the get together in Seattle’s dwelling regular-season finale when Bird was honored by the franchise and the league for her 21 seasons with the group and 19 as a participant, lacking two seasons with damage.
And it was Aces that lastly eradicated Bird and the Storm after 4 worrying video games full of massive performances.
Before the WNBA, Bird (L) received 2 nationwide titles as a UConn Husky, alongside Diana Taurasi (R)
Bird & Taurasi dominated for Team USA, profitable all 5 Olympic gold medals from 2004-2020
Bird closes out her profession as probably the most embellished gamers of all-time. In addition to the aforementioned titles and gold medals, she ends her time as the WNBA’s all-time chief in assists and video games performed, and recognition as one of many nice gamers throughout a golden era for the league.
Bird can be the one WNBA participant to have received titles in three completely different a long time, profitable crowns in 2004, 2010, 2018, and 2020.
She’ll additionally take into retirement the definition of being a flooring chief and finally a winner.
But she wasn’t ready so as to add that record-breaking fifth title to her remaining resume.
‘As unhappy as it’s that we’re we’re not being able to compete for a championship I feel what’s extra devastating … is simply the truth that we´re not going to be on the court with Sue,’ stated Stewart, a fellow Husky.
Gray was the largest thorn for Seattle along with her clutch capturing usually late in the shot clock. Seattle pulled even at 67-all, solely to have Gray hit a 3 as the shot clock expired.
In her remaining post-game presser as a participant, Bird described her remaining moments as ‘surreal’
Gray scored consecutive buckets later in the fourth to maintain the Aces forward, however her miss and Gabby Williams’ three-point play gave Seattle an 83-82 lead with 2:40 left.
That was Seattle’s final lead.
Wilson’s three-point play put the Aces again forward 85-83 and Gray wouldn´t miss, her jumper with 30 seconds left giving the Aces a 92-87 lead. Wilson completed with 23 factors and 13 rebounds.
‘When Chelsea is rocking and rolling my largest factor is simply getting the hell out of her approach,’ Wilson stated. ‘At the tip of the day, you simply bought to get out of the way in which and let individuals rock.’