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UConn in the WNBA: Sue Bird Not Thinking About Retirement

The 15-year WNBA veteran is taking things one day at a time.

Ian Bethune - The UConn Blog

Sue Bird has been playing in the WNBA for a long time. Compared to her rookie season in 2002, the landscape of the league has changed quite a bit.

“I played against Orlando and Miami and Portland and half of the young players didn’t even know those teams existed at one point,” Bird said.

Now in her 15th season, Bird is at the tail end of her career. While she isn’t afraid to admit this, Bird has no end date in mind.

“I feel really confident in telling you that I feel good now and I’ll play as long as I feel good but time will tell when it comes to health,” she said. “Obviously I’m not getting any younger and even though I do feel healthy and good, things happen. So I’m just trying to enjoy every year.”

Leading up to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last summer, Bird went down with a knee injury and left everyone fearing the worst. Luckily, it turned out to be minor and even helped give Bird some perspective.

“I’ve come to learn that you can’t be too high or too low with these things,” she said. “I think in the moment there can be a tendency to feel like if this is something really bad, ‘That’s it! There goes my career’ versus ‘Oh I’m playing another five years’. You don’t want those highs and lows you just want to keep it even-keel.”

When she began to realize her time in the WNBA is nearing its end, she decided her final season would be on her own terms.

“A couple years ago, I looked in the mirror and had a moment of ‘what do I want my final years to be’,” Bird said. “Do I want a negative experience on the way out or can I see what I can do, control what I can control and try to make it a positive?”

She chose the latter, and is currently leading the Western Conference backcourt in the WNBA All Star Voting, ahead of former teammate Diana Taurasi. She’s also leading the entire league in assists at 6.7 per game.

As a point guard, Bird is only improving with age. Her wealth of experience allows her to see the court and find her teammates better than before. But she’s also paying more attention to her body.

“I changed my diet and my workout regimen and here I am feeling relatively healthy and I’m just going to stay on that train until it pushes me off.”

And how does she keep fighting off Father Time at age 36?

“Fountain of youth,” Bird joked. “I don’t know what to tell you.”