SEATTLE ( Associated Press) — Sue Bird officially re-signed Friday with the Seattle Storm, her only WNBA team, in what is expected to be her final season.
Bird, the oldest player in the WNBA at 41, previously announced she would return for one more season. She waited until Seattle finished its offseason maneuvers — including bringing back Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart — before signing her deal.
The four-time WNBA champion and 12-time All-Star selection was the No. 1 pick of the 2002 WNBA draft by Seattle. The 2022 season will be Bird’s 21st overall with the franchise, but she missed the 2014 and 2019 seasons due to injury.
“It’s rare to have someone play their entire career for one team and Sue has done that for our city, our franchise and our fans,” Seattle general manager Talisa Rhea said in a statement. “To have Sue lead the franchise back home, to the city of Seattle, and Climate Pledge Arena is extremely special.”
For several years, Bird has said she would assess on a yearly basis how much longer she wanted to play. She won her fifth gold medal with the United States at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. A few months later, Seattle was ousted in the second round of the WNBA playoffs by Phoenix. Bird was feted with chants of “one more year” after the Storm lost at home to the Mercury.
Since announcing plans to return, Bird has said those chants lingered and helped motivate her to play another season.
She’s also expressed excitement about getting to play in Seattle’s new home arena after spending the 2019 and 2021 seasons in venues around the Puget Sound region, and the 2020 season in the WNBA bubble in Florida.
Bird averaged 10 points and 5.3 assists last season. She also averaged nearly 28 minutes, her highest total since 2017.
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