Storm honor Sue Bird with pre-game ceremony before final regular season game in Seattle
Between the regular season and playoffs, Sue Bird has suited up 651 times for the Seattle Storm during her legendary 19-year career. On Sunday afternoon, during the team's 89-81 loss to the Las Vegas Aces, she stepped on the court for one last regular season game in Seattle. Bird finished with nine points, four rebounds and six assists.
"Right now I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart, how thankful I am," Bird said while addressing the crowd after the game. "Not only for today, and all of you showing up and supporting us, but for 21 years... This place is not only where I played, it's where I call home."
Before the game, the Storm honored Bird with a touching ceremony in front of a sold-out crowd that was the largest in franchise history and the largest to ever watch a basketball game at Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena.
Bird was also presented with a custom ring to honor her many accomplishments, which include, but are not limited to, four WNBA titles, a record 13 All-Star appearances and being the league's all-time assists leader.
Early in the day, Seattle mayor Bruce Harrell also declared Sunday would be "Sue Bird Day" in honor of her contributions to the city over the past two decades. The statement read, in part:
Whereas she is one of the most decorated women's basketball players of all time, being named a WNBA All-Star a record 13 times, earning All-WNBA recognition eight times, winning Olympic Gold five times, World Cup gold medals four times, and two NCAA championships; and Whereas she has been an outspoken voice for change, using her position of influence to advocate for social change initiatives including LGBTQ+ rights and racial equality right here in Seattle and across the country; and Whereas the city of Seattle recognizes the important contributions that Suzanne Brigit Bird has provided not only to our city but the greater community and wish her the best of luck in her retirement. Now, therefore, I, Bruce Harrell, mayor of Seattle, do hereby proclaim August 7, 2022 to be Sue Bird Day.
While the Storm have already clinched a playoff spot, the WNBA's new format means there's a chance this is not only her last regular season game in Seattle but the last home game, period. The Storm are currently locked in a tight battle with the Washington Mystics for the No. 4 seed and homecourt advantage in the first round.
Under the new format, the first round will be a best-of-three series with the higher seeded team hosting Games 1 and 2. If the Storm end up as the No. 5 seed, then, there's a future where they lose both games in Washington and are knocked out of the playoffs without getting a home game. That's unlikely, of course, but the possibility made Sunday's game even more meaningful for Bird and the Storm fans.