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Sue Bird to return for 2022 WNBA season

Despite rumors of her retirement, the living basketball legend and former UConn star will be playing for another season.

2021 WNBA Playoffs - Phoenix Mercury v Seattle Storm Photo by Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images

Sue Bird isn’t ready for retirement just yet. On Friday, the 41-year-old point guard announced she will return for her 19th season in the WNBA in 2022.

After the Seattle Storm were eliminated from the 2021 WNBA Playoffs, Bird said she would take some time before deciding on the future of her playing career.

“This is the first time where I’m really going to have to sit back, see how I feel, weigh some things,” she said at the time. “I know for sure that I want to let the emotion of the season die down. I don’t want to make some emotional decision.”

However, Bird did seem to hint that she was leaning towards a return this past fall. She appeared on ESPN’s “Manningcast” of Monday Night Football in October and admitted the idea of playing at Climate Pledge Arena — the newly-renovated arena in Seattle — was “tempting,” but emphasized she wouldn’t rush her decision.

Bird is technically a free agent, though the expectation is she’ll re-sign with the Storm once players can sign contracts on Feb. 1.

Bird spent her entire career with the Seattle Storm after they took her No. 1 overall in the 2002 WNBA Draft and has led the franchise to four WNBA championships. She’s is also the league’s all-time assist leader with 3,048. Last year, Bird — alongside Diana Taurasi — became the first basketball player to win five Olympic gold medals when she helped Team USA come out on top in Tokyo.

At UConn, Bird helped the Huskies win national championships in both 2000 and 2002. She was named an All-American twice and took home AP National Player of the Year in 2002.

Bird and the Storm will open the 2022 WNBA season on Friday, May 6 against the Minnesota Lynx.