Sue Bird

Sue Bird

Sue Bird in 2012
No. 10 Seattle Storm
Position Point guard
League WNBA
Personal information
Born (1980-10-16) October 16, 1980
Syosset, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Listed weight 150 lb (68 kg)
Career information
High school Christ the King
(Queens, New York)
College Connecticut (1998–2002)
WNBA draft 2002 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Seattle Storm
Playing career 2002–present
Career history
2002–present Seattle Storm
2004–2006 Dynamo Moscow
2006–2011 Spartak Moscow Region
2011–2014 UMMC Ekaterinburg
Career highlights and awards
Stats at

Suzanne Brigit "Sue" Bird (born October 16, 1980) is an American professional basketball player for the Seattle Storm of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and UMMC Ekaterinburg.

In high school, she was the New York State Player of the Year, the New York Daily News Player of the Year, and a WBCA All-American. In her senior year at undefeated UConn in 2002, she won the Wade Trophy and the Naismith Award as College Player of the Year.[1] She finished her UConn career ranked first in three-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage, second in assists and steals, and as a three-time winner of the Nancy Lieberman Award as the top point guard in the nation, while leading her team to a record of 114–4.

The Seattle Storm selected Bird with the first overall pick of the 2002 WNBA Draft. Bird has won two WNBA championships (2004, 2010), four Olympic gold medals, (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016), and led the WNBA in assists three times (2005, 2009, 2016). She has also been selected to nine WNBA All-Star teams and seven All-WNBA teams. She is one of 9 women to win an Olympic Gold Medal, an NCAA Championship, and a WNBA Championship. In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the WNBA's Top 15 Players of All Time.

Early life

Bird was born on October 16, 1980 in Syosset, Nassau County, New York on Long Island to Herschel and Nancy Bird. She only has one sibling, an older sister named Jen.[2] Her father is an Italian-born Russian Jew[3][4] and their original last name was "Boorda".[3][5][6][7] As a result, she has also held Israeli citizenship since 2006[3] but represents her birth country (the United States) in international competitions.[8] Bird was raised in her mother's Christian religion.[9]

Bird was interested in sports from an early age, which was partly influenced by her athletic older sister.[10] Besides basketball, she played soccer, tennis, and ran track.[11] Sue became a very good player and started playing AAU basketball in the sixth grade. While only 11 years old, she played during halftime of a St. John's basketball game; her play was so impressive that a security guard asked for her autograph.[2]

High school

She played her freshman and sophomore years at Syosset High School, but wanted more competition. She therefore enrolled at Christ the King Regional High School in Queens, New York. Sue spent two seasons at Christ the King, and the Royals went 24–3 her Junior year. In the second season her team finished undefeated and won the New York state championship, and the national title. Bird won many awards, including the New York State Player of the Year, and the New York Daily News Player of the Year. Bird was named a WBCA All-American. She participated in the WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored 11 points.[12]


Bird was recruited by a number of teams, including Stanford and Vanderbilt. She considered UConn the favorite, but she began to waver when Keirsten Walters and Brianne Stepherson, both point guards, announced commitments to UConn. She worried that there might not be room for her to play. However, Stepherson changed her mind, and decided to go to Boston College, making the decision a bit easier, so Bird committed to UConn.[13] In addition, she chose UConn because it was close to home, and the UConn program had a winning tradition like the one at Christ the King.[10] She suffered a torn ACL eight games into her freshman season. She was not able to redshirt, because she had played in more than 20% of the team's games.[11] In her sophomore season (1999–2000) she came back to lead the team to a 36–1 record and won the Big East Championship and the 2000 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament. The Huskies went 32–3 in her junior season. The last loss was to Big East rival Notre Dame in the Final Four. That was the last loss of Bird's college career, as the Huskies went an undefeated 39–0 in her 2002 senior season. In that season, she won the Wade Trophy and Naismith Award as College Player of the Year.[1]

During her junior year, Bird played in a game against Notre Dame referred to as "the best women's basketball game ever played". The game was memorialized in a book, Bird at the Buzzer, in which Bird took the eponymous shot at the buzzer to win the game.[14]

She finished her UConn career on many of the record lists. She currently ranks No. 24 on the 1,000 point list with 1,378 points, No. 2 in assists with 585, and seventh with 243 steals.[2] She ranks number 1 in three point field goal percentage (45.9) and free throw percentage (89.2).[2] She won two National Championships, three Big East Championships and Big East regular season titles. Bird was the inaugural winner of the Nancy Lieberman Award in 2000, given to the top point guard in the nation, and won the award in 2001 and 2002.[2] Overall her record at UConn in games she played is a remarkable 114–4. Bird was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.[15]

College statistics

Statistics[16] at University of Connecticut
1998–99 8 16 41 0.316 6 19 0.316 3 4 0.750 16 2.0 25 16 1 15 160 41 5.1
1999-00 37 140 279 0.502 72 145 0.497 53 59 0.898 94 2.5 160 80 1 69 1052 405 10.9
2000–01 34 137 309 0.443 60 139 0.432 35 45 0.778 89 2.6 169 88 4 63 941 369 10.9
2001–02 39 198 392 0.505 69 148 0.466 98 104 0.942 131 3.4 231 93 9 96 1168 563 14.4
Totals 118 491 1021 0.481 207 451 0.459 189 212 0.892 330 2.8 585 277 15 243 3321 1378 11.7

Professional career


Bird during the 2008 playoffs against the LA Sparks
Sue Bird at 2 August 2015 game in Madison Square Garden

The Seattle Storm selected Bird with the first overall pick of the 2002 WNBA draft.[2] She would play alongside superstar Lauren Jackson who was also drafted first overall the year before. In her rookie season, Bird started all 32 games for the Storm and averaged 14.4 ppg. She was selected as a starter on the 2002 WNBA Western Conference All-Star team. Bird was the runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award, and one of only two rookies to make the All-WNBA First Team.[2] Both Bird and Jackson led the Storm to their first playoff appearance. During her first year in the league, Bird scored a career-high 33 points in a regular season game against the Portland Fire. Since her rookie season she has been selected to the Western Conference All Star team. In 2004, the Storm acquired shooting guard Betty Lennox in a dispersal draft, joining forces with Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, forming a dominant trio of star players to carry the Storm to its first WNBA Championship. By winning the WNBA Championship, Bird became one of 9 women to receive an Olympic Gold Medal, an NCAA Championship, and a WNBA Championship. The others are Ruth Riley, Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, and fellow Huskies Swin Cash, Kara Wolters, Diana Taurasi, and following London 2012, Maya Moore & Tamika Catchings. Bird now has two WNBA championships to go along with her two NCAA championships after the Seattle Storm beat the Atlanta Dream for the 2010 WNBA championship.[17] In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the Top 15 players in the fifteen-year history of the WNBA.[18]

During the 2012 WNBA season, Bird had been having problems with her knee. Bird was still able to play 29 games during the regular season and in the playoffs. In the off-season, Bird had knee surgery which would prevent her from playing the entire 2013 season.[19]

Bird would come back healthy for the 2014 season, she played 33 games, averaged 10.6 ppg and 4.6 apg. She was voted as a WNBA all-star that year. However the Storm never made it to the playoffs.

On February 16, 2016, Bird re-signed with the Storm to a multi-year deal as an unrestricted free agent.[20]

In the 2016 season, Bird would have a resurgence, putting up her best numbers since coming back from knee surgery. She averaged 12.8 ppg while shooting a career-high in 3-point field goal percentage and led the league in assists with 5.8 apg. For the fifth time in her career, Bird was named to the All-WNBA First Team for the first time in 12 years. Prior to the season, the Storm selected Breanna Stewart first overall in the 2016 WNBA draft, their second number one overall pick in a row after drafting Jewell Loyd the year before. With the addition of Stewart and Loyd quickly developing into a star player, the Storm made it back to the playoffs for the first time in 3 years with a 16-18 record. With the WNBA's new playoff format in effect, the Storm were the number 7 seed in the league and faced the Atlanta Dream in the first round, losing the single elimination game 94-85. Bird was also listed in the WNBA Top 20@20, a list of the league's best 20 players ever in celebration of the WNBA's twentieth anniversary.


In the 2004–05 WNBA off-season, she played in Russia, with Storm teammate Kamila Vodichkova on the Dynamo Moscow. In the 2005–06 WNBA off-season, she played on the same team, reaching the Russian championship and the Euroleague women's playoffs.

In the 2006–07 WNBA off-season, she joined Storm teammate Lauren Jackson and fellow UConn stars Diana Taurasi and Svetlana Abrosimova on the Russian team Spartak Moscow Region[21] to win both the Russian Super League and the EuroLeague Women championships. Bird would keep playing with team for the next four WNBA off-seasons.

From 2011–2014, Bird played three off-seasons for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian League winning three consecutive championships with the team.

USA Basketball

She competed with USA Basketball as a member of the 2000 Jones Cup Team in Taipei. Bird started all four games, and led the team with 17 assists, helping lead the team to the gold medal.[22]

In 2002, Bird was named to the national team which competed in the World Championships in Zhangjiagang, Changzhou and Nanjing, China. The team was coached by Van Chancellor. Bird scored 4.3 points per game. The USA team won all nine games, including a close title game against Russia, which was a one-point game late in the game.[23]

In the 2003–2004 off-season, Bird was named to the United States 2004 Women's Olympic Basketball Team's roster.[24] The USA team would go on to win the gold at the games in Athens, Greece.

In 2006, Bird was invited back to the National team for the World Championships held in Sao Paulo, Brazil in September 2006. With the retirements of Lisa Leslie and Dawn Staley and injuries to Sheryl Swoopes, Bird, along with Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi stepped up to leading roles on the national team. The USA team won eight of the nine games they played, but fell against Russia 75–68 in the medal round, so ended up with the bronze medal. Over the nine games, Bird hit 50% of her three-point attempts, typing her for accuracy leadership along with Taurasi and Swoopes. Bird led the team with 41 assists.[25]

In the summer of 2008, she was invited back to be on the 2008 Olympic basketball team. The team won the gold medal in Beijing, China. Bird started all eight games, and led the team in steals, with 14.[26]

Bird was invited to the USA Basketball Women's National Team training camp in the fall of 2009.[27] The team selected to play for the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics is usually chosen from these participants. At the conclusion of the training camp, the team will travel to Ekaterinburg, Russia, where they compete in the 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational.[27]

Bird was named as one of the National team members to represent the USA Basketball team in the WNBA versus USA Basketball.[28] This game replaces the normal WNBA All-Star game with WNBA All-Stars versus USA Basketball, as part of the preparation for the FIBA World Championship for Women to be held in the Czech Republic during September and October 2010.[29] Bird was selected to be a member of the National team representing the USA at the World Championships held in September and October 2010. The team was coached by Geno Auriemma. Because many team members were still playing in the WNBA until just prior to the event, the team had only one day of practice with the entire team before leaving for Ostrava and Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Even with limited practice, the team managed to win its first games against Greece by 26 points. The team continued to dominate with victory margins exceeding 20 points in the first five games. Several players shared scoring honors, with Swin Cash, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Lindsay Whalen, and Sylvia Fowles all ending as high scorer in the first few games. The sixth game was against undefeated Australia — the USA jumped out to a 24-point lead and the USA prevailed 83–75. The USA won its next two games by over 30 points, then faced the host team, the Czech Republic, in the championship game. The USA team had only a five-point lead at halftime, which was cut to three points, but the Czechs never got closer. Team USA went on to win the championship and gold medal. Bird averaged 5.6 points per game and led the team in assists with 26.[30]

Bird competed for the U.S. in the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Americans won their fifth straight gold medal.[31]

In 2014, Bird had competed for Team USA during the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, in which they defeated Spain 77-64 to win the gold medal.

Bird competed for Team USA in the 2016 Summer Olympics, helping the team win their sixth straight gold medal, as they beat Spain 101-72 in the gold medal game. Bird would also earn her fourth olympic gold medal.

WNBA career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high League leader

Regular season


Awards and honors

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "The Wade Trophy". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Retrieved 30 Jun 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Porter p. 42
  3. 1 2 3 "Rolling in Rubles". ESPN. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  4. D. Clarke Evans. "Sue Bird – Prominent Jewish Athletes". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  5. "Sue Bird: From Russia With Love 4". February 24, 2005. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  6. "The Chosen One". March 28, 2007. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  7. "Women's Basketball/ No. 1 WNBA Draft pick Sue Bird headed to Ramle; Several top U.S. basketball players have appeared in Israel's women's league over the years, but Sue Bird tops them all.". Haaretz. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  8. "Sue Bird". Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  9. The Jewish News, by Nate Bloom, 2004
  10. 1 2 "Sue Bird". UCONN Hoop Legends. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  11. 1 2 "Sue Bird Biography". JockBio. October 16, 1980. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  12. "WBCA High School All-America Game Box Scores". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Retrieved 29 Jun 2014.
  13. Goldberg p 10–11
  14. Jacobs, Jeff (March 5, 2011). "'Bird At The Buzzer' The Definitive Women's Basketball Tale". Hartford Courant.
  15. "Women's Basketball 1995 National Championship Team to be Recognized as "Huskies of Honor"". Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  16. "UConn Media Guide". p. 141. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  17. Voepel, Mechelle (September 16, 2010). "Second title even sweeter for Storm". ESPN. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
  18. Stanchak, Scott (July 24, 2011). "WNBA Top 15 Players of All Time". Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  21. "SPARTAK VIDNOE MOSCOW REGION basketball team". Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  22. "2000 WOMEN'S R. WILLIAM JONES CUP". Retrieved Aug 3, 2014.
  23. "Fourteenth World Championship For Women -- 2002". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  24. "Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad – 2004". Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  25. "Fifteenth World Championship For Women -- 2006". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  26. "Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad – 2008". USA Basketball. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  27. 1 2 "USA Basketball Women's National Team To Tip-Off Training Tomorrow In D.C.". USA Basketball. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
  28. "Six Olympic Gold Medalists Among 11-Member Team Set To Participate In WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun Game". USA Basketball. June 30, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  29. "FIBA World Championship for Women". FIBA. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  30. "Sixteenth World Championship For Women -- 2010". USA Basketball. October 15, 2013. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  31. "U.S. women win 5th gold in row". news services. August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  32. "Sue Bird". Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  33. "PAST HONDA SPORTS AWARD WINNERS FOR BASKETBALL". THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  34. "USA Women's National Team Outguns UMMC Ekaterinburg To Capture 2009 Ekaterinburg International Invitational Title". USA Basketball. Retrieved October 24, 2009.
  35. "All-WNBA 1st, 2nd teams announced". news services. September 14, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  36. "UMMC Romp To Russian Cup Win". FIBA Europe. March 8, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
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