Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird plans to return to the court this season after sitting out the 2019 campaign with a knee injury.
Bird, who is the oldest active player in the league at 39, said Saturday via a Zoom call that she did not entertain the notion of sitting out because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bird said her reasoning stems from being comfortable with what the conditions would be like inside the bubble. The WNBA is set to play its season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Players are being housed on site.
“I understood that this is all just one big game of trust,” said Bird, who got a closer look at the WNBA’s protocol as a member of the players’ union executive committee.
“It’s set up for success, and for us to do well and complete the season. With that, there’s a virus that nobody has any control over. Coming into this experience, I felt comfortable that we were going to be able to trust each other.”
While Bird last played for the Storm during their WNBA championship-winning season in 2018, she was on the court for USA Basketball as recently as February.
“If I didn’t play basketball this summer, I don’t know, I might have been done. And that’s just a reality,” Bird said, per ESPN. “This isn’t me wanting to retire, this isn’t me wanting to stop playing.
“The last time I played was like February with USA Basketball, which was only a couple games. I didn’t play the WNBA season before that, so it’s really 2018 [was my last time playing in the league]. So now the sudden, if I don’t play this summer, the fall of 2020 goes by ... OK maybe next summer? Who the hell knows with the virus?
“So for me, I was highly motivated to play. I don’t think that clouded my judgment in terms of my outlook on the virus.”
An 11-time All-Star, Bird has averaged 12.1 points and 5.6 assists over 16 seasons with the Storm. She is the league’s all-time leader in starts (508) and assists (2,831).
--Field Level Media
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