WNBA legend Sue Bird, the league’s all-time assists leader, announced Thursday that she will retire at the end of the 2022 season.
“I’ve decided this will be my final year,” Bird, 41, posted on social media. “I have loved every single minute, and still do, so gonna play my last year, just like this little girl played her first.”
The 12-time All-Star and eight-time All-WNBA selection had previously said she considered retiring after the 2021 campaign, but this past offseason she signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Storm, where she’s spent her entire 21-year WNBA career. Though she’d indicated this could be her last season, she didn’t publicly commit to anything until now.
“You just know when you know,” Bird told media in Connecticut Thursday following the announcement, adding that the Storm’s East Coast trip, which features her final game in her home state of New York on Sunday, spurred the timing of her announcement.
“Of course, I’m sad,” Bird said. “It’s a little bit of like a mourning, knowing I’m gonna miss it. But I mean, I have no regrets. I feel wonderful about my career, the people I’ve met, the things we’ve all accomplished… And I’m excited for the next chapter.”
She joins Sylvia Fowles, the league’s all-time rebounding leader who’s also considered one of the all-time greats, as WNBA luminaries to announce their retirements following the 2022 season.
Bird’s decorated career across two decades and at all levels catapults her into the conversation for one of the greatest basketball players and champions of all time. The former No. 1 draft pick in 2002 won four WNBA titles with the Storm in 2004, 2010, 2018 and 2020, making her the only WNBA player to win titles across three decades. She also was selected to each of the WNBA’s milestone teams, including most recently W25 in 2021.