Aces Break Sue Chicken’s Retirement Party, Topple Storm 89-81

SEATTLE — Sue Bird was at the conclusion of her speech to the sold-out crowd, nearly all of whom nonetheless remained, and decided — perhaps was hoping — this will no longer be the last time she could get to play inside the city she’s called home the beyond two many years.

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“I do not honestly have that ‘Mamba Out’ moment,” Bird stated referencing Kobe Bryant’s retirement speech. “I simply need to mention I love you, thanks a lot and I’ll see you within the playoffs.”

The day set apart to honor Bird and her career with the Seattle Storm changed into slightly soured whilst the Las Vegas Aces pulled away past due for an 89-eighty one win on Sunday. A’ja Wilson scored 29 factors and Kelsey Plum introduced 16 inclusive of a key three-pointer inside the final minute.

But the end result didn’t eliminate from the three hours in which Storm enthusiasts, WNBA fans and the metropolis of Seattle said thank you to Bird for her profession as the face of the franchise. The biggest crowd in Storm records packed Climate Pledge Arena to honor Bird for her profession as one of the exceptional ladies’s basketball gamers ever.

Bird said while the day become recognition of her, it was additionally recognition of the players and train she performed with all through her profession and the accomplishments of the franchise.

“I think nowadays changed into sure, an honor in honor of me and those confirmed up, showed out for sure. It simply turned into wonderful,” Bird said. “But I suppose it’s virtually, in reality a celebration of Storm basketball due to the fact I am form of Storm basketball.”

Unfortunately for Bird and Seattle’s lovers, the Aces weren’t inclined to play their part. Wilson ruled the first three quarters, Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young each scored 15 and the Aces in no way trailed the final 28 mins.

“I wasn’t looking to crash Sue’s birthday party. She invited me,” Wilson joked.

Breanna Stewart completed with a season-excessive 35 points and Tina Charles added 19. Bird completed with 9 points, six assists and 4 rebounds, but the result become similar to the first game she played in Seattle twenty years in the past — a defeat.

“I’m not going to lie, it sort of sucks to lose my last sport. But you recognize what, I lost my first recreation too. So it’s OK,” Bird joked with the gang after the final buzzer.

The outcome mattered and didn’t inside the equal breath. Both Seattle and Las Vegas have been jockeying for playoff positioning, and for the Storm the loss became a knock to their probabilities of having domestic-courtroom benefit in the first-spherical of the WNBA playoffs. The Aces locked up a top-4 seed stored alive their hopes of catching Chicago for the No. 1 seed going into the final week.

But playoff role became absolutely secondary to the focal point of the day.

Bird is the WNBA record holder for assists and video games performed. Whenever this season ends, Bird will retire with 5 Olympic gold medals and at the least 4 WNBA titles, to go with the 2 championships she received at UConn.

“To be so top for goodbye,” said Las Vegas instruct Becky Hammon, who changed into an opponent of Bird’s in her first WNBA sport on May 30, 2002. “A lot of humans you have got 9 to 10 years of being exquisite. She’s been superb for many years that’s to me, high-quality.”

For the most element, Bird said she was capable of keep emotions in take a look at. She become surprised while leaving the locker room to take the court docket for pregame warmups and contributors of her own family covered the hallway with fiancee Megan Rapinoe the very last one inside the receiving line.

— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) August 7, 2022

An overwhelming wave regarded to hit her in the course of a video tribute simply before tipoff that included messages from Rapinoe, LeBron James, Russell Wilson, Chloe Kim, Lauren Jackson and Bird’s college instruct Geno Auriemma, and roaring cheers from the 18,one hundred in attendance, the most important crowd ever for a Storm domestic sport.

“We all recognise you’re not going away. I’m searching forward to what your next act is,” Auriemma said.

Bird stated it felt a bit like a college senior night in which all the ceremonies and emotional moments come pregame, “and then it’s like, ‘Oh, you gotta play this sport.’”

“So in a few weird way compartmentalizing this wasn’t that hard,” Bird said. “Like a little second in which you glanced up at the jumbotron and it type of all comes rushing back. But out of doors of a few moments feeling the feelings form of construct in the ones forty mins I didn’t sincerely should combat that off too difficult.”

For now, Bird’s next act is attempting to make certain the Storm play once more on their home ground. Seattle is presently fourth inside the standings and with the WNBA’s new playoff layout, Seattle could become hosting the primary two games of its commencing spherical collection inside the playoffs if it may cling directly to that spot.

Seattle became without head train Noelle Quinn after she tested nice for COVID-19 and was in the league’s health and safety protocols.

— TOGETHXR (@togethxr) August 7, 2022

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