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 was has been a four-time WNBA All-Star team. She is one of seven women to win an Olympic Gold Medal, an NCAA Championship, and a WNBA Championship.
Bird was born on October 16, 1980 in Syosset, New York. She is the younger of Herschel and Nancy Bird's two children. Her father's family is originally from Russia, and their original name was "Boorda". In 2006, Bird acquired Israeli citizenship. She still maintains her citizenship in the United States and represents the U.S. in international basketball competitions.
Bird’s role model as a young child was her older sister Jen. To stay active, Jen participated in several recreational sports. Sue’s favorite was basketball, though she also played soccer, tennis, and track. 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.
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 undefeated in both seasons. In the second season her team 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.
Bird was recruited by a number of teams, including Stanford and Vanderbilt. She considered UConn the favorite, but she began to waiver when Kiersten 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. 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. She suffered an ACL injury 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. 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 Sue’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.
She finished her UConn career on many of the record lists. She currently ranks #24 on the 1,000 point list with 1,378 points, #2 in assists with 585, and seventh with 243 steals. She ranks number 1 in three point field goal percentage (45.9) and free throw percentage (89.2). She has 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. 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.
|Sue Bird Statistics at University of Connecticut|
The Seattle Storm selected Bird with the first overall pick of the 2002 WNBA Draft. 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. 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 seven women to receive an Olympic Gold Medal, an NCAA Championship, and a WNBA Championship. The others are Ruth Riley, Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, and fellow Huskies Swin Cash, Kara Wolters, and Diana Taurasi.
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.
She competed with USA Basketball as a member of the 2000 Jones Cup Team that won the Gold in Taipei.
In the 2003–2004 off-season, Bird was named to the United States 2004 Women's Olympic Basketball Team's roster. The USA team would go on to win the gold at the games in Athens, Greece.
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 to win both the Russian Super League and the EuroLeague Women championships.
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 was invited to the USA Basketball Women's National Team training camp in the fall of 2009. 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.
Bird was named as one of the National team members to represent the USA Basketball team in the WNBA versus USA Basketball. 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. Sue Bird along with team USA took gold in the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Awards and honors
- 1998—WBCA All-American.
- 2000—Nancy Lieberman Award
- 2001—Nancy Lieberman Award
- 2002—Nancy Lieberman Award
- 2002—Naismith Award
- 2002—Wade Trophy
- 2002—Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
- 2002—Big East Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Year
- 2002—Sportswoman of the Year Award
- 2002—Honda Sports Award, basketball
- 2002–07, 2009 — WNBA All-Star Selection
- 2009—Most Valuable Point Guard, Ekaterinburg International Invitational
- 2010—All-WNBA Second Team
- U.S. Olympic Team bio
- Porter p. 42
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- Goldberg p 10–11
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- "USA Basketball Women's National Team To Tip-Off Training Tomorrow In D.C.". USA Basketball. http://usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=09_wnt_fall_invitees_add_rm. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
- "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. http://www.usabasketball.com/womens/national/10_wnt_sats_roster.html. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
- "FIBA World Championship for Women". FIBA. http://czechrepublic2010.fiba.com/. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
- "Sportswoman of the Year Award". Women's Sports Foundation. http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/News-And-Events/Awards/Sportswoman-of-the-Year-Award.aspx. Retrieved August 3, 2009.
- "Past Honda Sports Award Winners". Collegiate Women Sports Awards. http://www.collegiatewomensportsawards.com/past_honda_award_winners.html. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- "USA Women’s National Team Outguns UMMC Ekaterinburg To Capture 2009 Ekaterinburg International Invitational Title". USA Basketball. http://www.usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=09_wnt_ekaterinburg_03. Retrieved October 24, 2009.
- "All-WNBA 1st, 2nd teams announced". ESPN.com news services. September 14, 2010. http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/news/story?id=5569841. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
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- Photo Gallery - Photos featuring Sue Bird