WNBA legend Sue Bird retires after this season

WNBA legend Sue Chook, the league’s helping assists chief, introduced Thursday that she is going to retire on the finish of the 2022 season.

“I’ve determined this can be my final 12 months,” Baird, 41, posted on social media. “I cherished each minute, and I nonetheless adore it, so I’ll play final 12 months, similar to this little woman I performed first.”

The 12-time All-Star and 8-time All-WNBA Decide had beforehand stated she was contemplating retiring after the 2021 marketing campaign, however this previous season she signed a one-year contract with Seattle Storm, spending her whole 21-year WNBA profession. Though she has indicated that this can be her final season, she has not publicly dedicated to something but.

She joins Sylvia Fowles, the league’s all-time restoration chief who can also be thought-about one of many all-time greats, because the WNBA stars to announce their retirement after the 2022 season.

Chook’s ornate profession spanning twenty years and on all ranges has propelled her into the dialog of one of many biggest basketball gamers and champions of all time. The primary draft in 2002 gained 4 WNBA titles with Storm in 2004, 2010, 2018, and 2020, making her the one WNBA participant to win titles over three a long time. She was additionally chosen for each notable WNBA staff, together with the W25 as lately as 2021.

Chook added to her historic success on the worldwide stage final 12 months in Tokyo, when she helped NBA deliver house its ninth and seventh Olympic gold medals, respectively. Alongside along with his greatest buddy and former UConn teammate Diana Taurasi, the duo grew to become the primary basketball gamers to win 5 Olympic gold medals.

Syosset, New York, starred in Christ the King Excessive Faculty in Queens earlier than selecting to play for coach Geno Auriemma at UConn, the place she directed the Huskies to nationwide titles in 2000 and 2002, her second and third program titles. She was named the Nationwide Participant of the Yr in 2002 whereas she was a part of the 5 greatest gamers in ladies’s school basketball historical past.

The spacious Chook Cup bag additionally options 4 FIBA ​​World Championship gold medals with Crew USA and 5 Euroleague titles with Spartak Moscow and MMC Yekaterinburg.

Chook, who missed time this WNBA season on COVID-19 protocols and extra lately with a non-COVID-19 sickness, averages 7.8 factors on her 33.8% taking pictures (each profession lows), however her 6.6 assists per sport correlates along with her second most in her skilled life.

Her longevity – which she credit to her work with efficiency coach Susan Borchardt – is unparalleled, as her 19 NBA seasons (she missed 2013 and 2019 attributable to damage) are greater than every other participant. She is the one WNBA participant to have appeared in no less than 500 video games, beginning with all 559 profession competitions.

The 5-foot-9 goalkeeper scored an help in her 3,000th profession profession on July 9, 2021, and boasts 3114 dimes – 514 occasions greater than every other participant – en path to Friday’s Storm sport in opposition to the Solar, averaging 5 assists. Not less than essential for each participant. In 15 of her nineteen seasons and 6 no less than 5 occasions. She is a profession shooter with 39.2% of three with a penchant for making huge photographs when her staff wants it, and in addition is available in second in 3 seconds (965), fourth in steals (700) and seventh in scoring (6639).

Whereas Chook was initially comparatively soft-spoken, she has more and more opened up about her private life, turning her right into a cultural icon within the course of. She got here out as homosexual and revealed her relationship with (now courting) soccer star Megan Rapinoe, with whom she hosted ESPYS alongside Seattle star Russell Wilson in 2020. Off the sector, she served as vp of the WNBA Gamers Affiliation and helped negotiate a collective bargaining settlement The historical past between the league and the gamers in 2020.

Chook’s announcement coincides with Storm’s second-to-last common season journey to Connecticut, the place she spent her collegiate profession, and her final sport in New York, the place her household belongs.

“Because the season went on, like I stated, I just about knew, after which as quickly as I noticed the schedule, and after I began packing for this journey a bit of bit, I used to be like, ‘Oh, that is going to be my final playtime in New York. The final time I performed in entrance of my household and buddies. That is why the timing of that is what it’s,” Chook stated in a video posted by Storm on social media.

“I felt actually strongly in regards to the announcement of my retirement, and I stated it was my final 12 months, so I can share that with my household and buddies, all of the folks in New York who’ve seen me rising to allow them to come and see me play for the final time in my state. So I am enthusiastic about it, too. Candy and bitter. “

The 9-5 Storm, who has gained two of the previous 4 WNBA titles, ranks fourth within the WNBA rankings As a result of they search to ship Chook up entrance with one final title.

Data from the Related Press was used on this report.