JTA — Sports followers are obsessive about legacy. The time period GOAT — biggest of all time — is thrown round greater than a baseball throughout little league follow. Whether it is LeBron vs. Jordan or Serena vs. Court, the sports activities world is consumed by debates and superlatives.
Sue Bird is a component of these conversations.
The Jewish basketball star’s taking part in career has come to an finish, as her Seattle Storm misplaced their playoff sequence to the Las Vegas Aces on Tuesday evening. The 41-year-old introduced in June that she would retire after the season.
All advised, Bird is a two-time NCAA champion, a four-time WNBA champion, a five-time Olympic gold medalist and a four-time FIBA World Champion. She is the all-time WNBA chief in assists, video games performed, minutes performed, All-Star appearances, and seasons performed.
“I believe 21-year-old me could be shocked I’m nonetheless going,” she advised the Seattle Times final month. “Not as a result of she did not assume I had it in me. She would not have even thought these issues. So I believe she’ll be actually proud.”
Born in Syosset on New York’s Long Island, Bird’s paternal grandparents have been Jewish immigrants from what’s now Ukraine, altering their title from Boorda at Ellis Island. She grew up observing each Jewish and Christian holidays and didn’t have a bat mitzvah. But since she discovered extra about her Jewish heritage within the course of of incomes Israeli citizenship in 2006 — a transfer she referred to as “basketball motivated,” so she might extra simply compete on Russian groups throughout the WNBA offseason, since European squads solely permit a small quantity of American gamers on their rosters — she has felt extra linked to her Jewish background, she advised the Washington Jewish Museum.
“With my father being Jewish and nonetheless having family in Israel, it was a simple connection,” Bird stated. “It was cool, as a result of what I discovered was on this effort to create a chance in my basketball career, I used to be in a position to be taught lots a couple of tradition that I in all probability would not have tapped into in any other case.”
Off the court docket, Bird has turn into an entrepreneur, an activist, basketball govt and analyst and soccer crew proprietor. She’s achieved a lot that the one option to actually seize it’s in a timeline. So we made one.
A temporary timeline
2000: After struggling an ACL harm throughout her freshman 12 months on the University of Connecticut, Bird would start an unimaginable three-year run at UConn. During the 1999-2000 season, the crew went 36-1 and gained a nationwide championship. Bird additionally gained the inaugural Nancy Lieberman Award — named for WNBA Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, who can also be Jewish — given to the most effective level guard in girls’s Division I school basketball.
2001: UConn would finally lose to Notre Dame within the nationwide championship recreation this 12 months, however in a earlier assembly between the 2 groups, throughout the Big East event remaining, Bird hit a game-winning shot so candy that it impressed a whole e book referred to as ” Bird on the Buzzer.”
2002: As UConn went undefeated (39-0) on their option to one other nationwide championship, Bird gained participant of the 12 months honors throughout all of Division I, along with a number of different awards (together with the Nancy Lieberman Award, for the third straight season) . The Seattle Storm then chosen Bird with the primary total decide within the 2002 WNBA draft, and in her rookie season, Bird was an All-Star, named to the All-WNBA First Team and completed second in Rookie of the Year voting. She wasted no time dipping into worldwide competitors as effectively, profitable her first FIBA World Championship with Team USA in China.
2003: Bird was an All-Star and named to the All-WNBA First Team.
2004: Bird gained her first Olympic gold medal within the Summer Olympics in Athens and led the Storm to the franchise’s first WNBA championship. She turned one of 11 girls to win an NCAA title, a WNBA championship and an Olympic gold medal. She was once more named to the All-WNBA First Team.
2005: Bird was an All-Star and named to the All-WNBA First Team. She led the league in assists.
2006: Bird was an All-Star and named to the WNBA tenth Anniversary Team. She gained bronze on the FIBA World Championship in Brazil.
2007: Bird was an All-Star and gained her first EuroLeague championship and first Russian National League championship with the Sparta&Ok crew, which relies in Vidnoye, Russia.
2008: Bird gained her second Olympic gold medal in Beijing, her second EuroLeague championship and her second Russian National League championship. She was named to the All-WNBA Second Team.
2009: Bird was an All-Star and once more led the WNBA in assists. She gained a 3rd consecutive EuroLeague championship and her first European SuperCup.
2010: Bird led the Storm to a second WNBA championship, gained her second FIBA World Championship within the Czech Republic, her fourth consecutive EuroLeague championship and second straight European SuperCup. Bird was named to the All-WNBA Second Team.
2011: Bird was an All-Star and named to the WNBA fifteenth Anniversary Team and the All-WNBA Second Team.
2012: Bird gained her third Olympic gold medal in London and her third Russian National League championship.
2013: Bird gained her fourth Russian National League Championship and her fifth EuroLeague championship with a brand new membership, UMMC Ekaterinburg. She missed the WNBA season after present process knee surgical procedure.
2014: Bird was an All-Star and gained her third FIBA World Championship in Turkey and her fifth Russian National League Championship.
2015: Bird was an All-Star.
2016: Bird loved a career 12 months after re-signing with the Storm. She was named to her fifth All-WNBA First Team, led the league in assists for a 3rd time, and was named to the WNBA twentieth Anniversary Team. Bird additionally gained her fourth Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro.
2017: Bird was named to her tenth All-Star Game and have become the all-time WNBA assists chief.
2018: Bird led the Storm to a 3rd WNBA championship and gained her fourth FIBA World Championship in Spain. She was an All-Star, setting the WNBA file together with her eleventh choice. Bird additionally set the all-time file for WNBA video games performed.
2020: Bird led the Storm to a fourth WNBA championship contained in the league’s COVID bubble and have become the one WNBA participant to win championships in three completely different many years.
2021: Bird was an All-Star and named to the WNBA twenty fifth Anniversary Team. She was additionally named the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. Bird gained her fifth Olympic gold medal within the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo video games, throughout which she served as a flag bearer for Team USA.
2022: Bird was an All-Star for the thirteenth time in her remaining WNBA season.