Storm star Sue Bird finds her voice, and becomes an influential advocate for social justice

Percy Allen, The Seattle Times on

Published in Basketball

There's a poignant moment during an interview with Sue Bird when ESPN's Lisa Salters asks the suddenly opinionated Storm star if she ever wants to revert to the soft-spoken wunderkind who shied away from controversial topics.

"I never want to retreat back," Bird says. "I couldn't go back. And there are times when it's difficult. Whether it's things people say. Mean people on social media or even in person.

"Obviously, it can be difficult. But the option of either going back or just not saying it all, that's not a trade-off I would look at."

The aforementioned exchange takes place during a segment on the ESPN's "E60" titled, "The Evolution of Sue Bird" that airs Sunday on the network.

Salters interviewed a handful of Bird's closest confidants, including her mother Nancy and sister Jen. There are testimonials from Bird's former coaches, Connecticut Huskies' Geno Auriemma and Jill Cook, who led her AAU and high-school teams.

And there are plenty of insights from Bird's partner, soccer star Megan Rapinoe.


"There's a part of me that's excited to see it," Bird said of the segment during a phone interview Friday. "Whenever you have the people closest to you speak about you and share stories, it's exciting. I know it will be fun, and it'll be flattering. It'll definitely be cringe-worthy at times."

After nearly two decades in the public spotlight, Bird wasn't suddenly eager to retell her life story.

In November 2018, about two months after winning her third WNBA championship with the Storm, ESPN pitched an idea about chronicling her record-breaking career.

The piece was originally scheduled to air during the 2019 WNBA season, but Bird sat out that year due to an arthroscopic knee surgery.


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