Sue Bird

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Sue Bird
Sue Bird 2012.jpg
Sue Bird in 2012
WNBA's Seattle Storm  – No. 10
Born (1980-10-16) October 16, 1980 (age 33)
Syosset, New York
Nationality American/Israeli
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 150 lb (68 kg)
College Connecticut
Draft 1st overall, 2002
Seattle Storm
WNBA career 2002–present
Non-WNBA career 2004–present
Profile WNBA player profile
WNBA teams
Seattle Storm (2002–present)
Non-WNBA teams
Dynamo Moscow (2004–2006)
Spartak Moscow Region (2006–2011)
UMMC Ekaterinburg (2011–present)
Awards and honors

All-WNBA First Team (2002–2005)

All-WNBA Second Team (2008, 2010, 2011)
WNBA All-Decade Team
WNBA All-Star (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011)
WNBA Champion (2004, 2010)

Suzanne Brigit "Sue" Bird (born October 16, 1980) is an American-Israeli professional women's basketball player for the Seattle Storm 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. 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, and she has been a seven-time WNBA All-Star. 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[edit]

Bird was born on October 16, 1980 in Syosset, New York. She is the younger of Herschel and Nancy Bird's two children.[1] She is Jewish,[2] and has held dual-citizenship with Israel as a result since 2006,[3] and her father's family is Jewish and originally from Russia, and their original name was "Boorda".[4][5][6][7] Bird was raised in her mother's Christian religion.[8] Her father was born in Italy.[3] She still maintains her dual citizenship in the United States and represents the U.S. in international basketball competitions.[9]

Bird's role model as a young child was her older sister Jen. To stay active, Jen participated in several recreational sports.[10] Sue's favorite was basketball, though she also played soccer, tennis, and 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.[1]

High school[edit]

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 & 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.[12] She participated in the WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored 11 points.[13]


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.[14] 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.

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.[15]

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.[1] She ranks number 1 in three point field goal percentage (45.9) and free throw percentage (89.2).[1] 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.[1] 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.[16]

Statistics[17] 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

USA Basketball[edit]

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.[18]

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.[19]

In the 2003–2004 off-season, Bird was named to the United States 2004 Women's Olympic Basketball Team's roster.[20] 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.[21]

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.[22]

Bird was invited to the USA Basketball Women's National Team training camp in the fall of 2009.[23] 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.[23]

Bird was named as one of the National team members to represent the USA Basketball team in the WNBA versus USA Basketball.[24] 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.[25] In 2010, Bird again was part of the National team for the World Championships held in Ostrava, and Karlovy Vary in Czech Republic. The team had failed to win the gold medal in 2006, and was determined to retake the medal. The team won all nine games, including the gold medal game against a very determined host country. Bird started all nine games, led her team with 26 assists, and was second in steals to Angel McCoughtry.[26]

Bird competed for the U.S. in the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Americans won their fifth straight gold medal.[27]

Professional career[edit]


Bird during the 2008 playoffs against the LA Sparks

The Seattle Storm selected Bird with the first overall pick of the 2002 WNBA Draft.[1] 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.[1] She also led the Storm to their first playoff appearance. Since her rookie season she has been selected to the Western Conference All Star team. In 2004 Bird helped the Storm win 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.[28] In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the Top 15 players in the fifteen-year history of the WNBA.[29]

During the 2012 WNBA season Bird had been having problems with her knee. Because of this she had to have surgery which would prevent her from playing the entire 2013 season with the Storm.


In the 2004–2005 WNBA off-season, she played in Russia, with Storm teammate Kamila Vodichkova on the Dynamo Moscow. In the 2005–2006 WNBA off-season, she played on the same team, reaching the Russian championship and the Euroleague women's playoffs.

In the 2006–2007 WNBA off-season, she joined Storm teammate Lauren Jackson and fellow UConn stars Diana Taurasi and Svetlana Abrosimova on the Russian team Spartak Moscow[30] to win both the Russian Super League and the EuroLeague Women championships. As a player of partially Jewish descent, Bird can claim Israeli citizenship and not count against Euroleague limits for foreign players.

WNBA career statistics[edit]

  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[edit]


Awards and honors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Porter p. 42
  2. ^ D. Clarke Evans. "Sue Bird – Prominent Jewish Athletes". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Rolling in Rubles". ESPN. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sue Bird: From Russia With Love 4". February 24, 2005. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Chosen One". March 28, 2007. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Rolling in Rubles". ESPN. 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. ^ The Jewish News, by Nate Bloom, 2004
  9. ^ "Sue Bird". Retrieved September 24, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Sue Bird". UCONN Hoop Legends. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Sue Bird Biography". JockBio. October 16, 1980. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "1998 WBCA High School All-Americans". WBCA. Retrieved October 29, 2009. 
  13. ^ "1998 WBCA High School All-America Game". WBCA. Retrieved October 29, 2009. 
  14. ^ Goldberg p 10–11
  15. ^ Jacobs, Jeff (March 5, 2011). "'Bird At The Buzzer' The Definitive Women's Basketball Tale". Hartford Courant. 
  16. ^ "Women's Basketball 1995 National Championship Team to be Recognized as "Huskies of Honor"". Retrieved July 24, 2009. 
  17. ^ "UConn Media Guide". p. 141. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  18. ^ "2000 WOMEN'S R. WILLIAM JONES CUP". Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  19. ^ "FOURTEENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN – 2002". USA Basketball. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad – 2004". Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  21. ^ "FIFTEENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN – 2006". USA Basketball. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad – 2008". USA Basketball. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  23. ^ a b "USA Basketball Women's National Team To Tip-Off Training Tomorrow In D.C.". USA Basketball. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  24. ^ "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. 
  25. ^ "FIBA World Championship for Women". FIBA. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  26. ^ "SIXTEENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN – 2010". USA Basketball. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  27. ^ "U.S. women win 5th gold in row". news services. August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  28. ^ Voepel, Mechelle (September 16, 2010). "Second title even sweeter for Storm". ESPN. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  29. ^ Stanchak, Scott (July 24, 2011). "WNBA Top 15 Players of All Time". Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  30. ^ "SPARTAK VIDNOE MOSCOW REGION basketball team". Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  31. ^ "Sue Bird". Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b "Past Honda Sports Award Winners". Collegiate Women Sports Awards. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  33. ^ "USA Women’s National Team Outguns UMMC Ekaterinburg To Capture 2009 Ekaterinburg International Invitational Title". USA Basketball. Retrieved October 24, 2009. 
  34. ^ "All-WNBA 1st, 2nd teams announced". news services. September 14, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  35. ^ "UMMC Romp To Russian Cup Win". FIBA Europe. March 8, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 


  • Goldberg, Jeff (2011). Bird at the Buzzer: UConn, Notre Dame, and a Women's Basketball Classic. Doris Burke. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-2411-7. 
  • David L. Porter, ed. (2005). Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-30952-6. 

External links[edit]