Before Sue Bird could inbound the ball during her final game in Seattle Sunday, she felt a tap on her right arm.
The WNBA legend twisted her head to find a young girl giving her a flower. Bird smiled, acknowledging the gift, before putting the ball into play.
The girl kept the flower on the sidelines, while Bird stepped back onto the hardwood, allowing what may be her final moments in Seattle to continue melting away.
Despite a heartbreaking loss to the Aces, who beat the Storm 89-81, Bird said she feels at peace that Sunday’s game could be the final time she steps on the court in Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena.
After announcing back in June the 2022 season would be her final campaign, this summer has been a retirement tour for Bird, 41, who became the WNBA all-time leader in assists during her 20 years with Seattle and cemented herself as a WNBA trailblazer.
Her “special day” may not have been perfect because of the loss. But Bird told a sold-out crowd of fans, that despite not having a “Mamba Out” moment, unlike Kobe Bryant did in his final 60-point game, it was still worth it in the end.
“I’m not going to lie, it kind of sucks to lose my last game,” Bird said to the crowd. “But you know what, I lost my first game too. So it’s OK.”
Even with the loss, the Storm will play in a retooled WNBA playoffs that may not allow Bird to return to Seattle – unless they hold on to their fourth-seed spot. And as Bird plays out her final three regular season games away from Seattle, she doesn’t look at Sunday as just an honor for her, but as something more.
“It really was amazing,” Bird said about Sunday’s game. “But I think it’s really, truly a celebration of Storm basketball because I am kind of Storm basketball.”
With Post Wires