WNBA legends Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles retired in the same season. So it’s only fitting their iconic jerseys were both retired on the same night.
The GOAT Sue Bird, holding the record as the all-time assists leader in the W, took to the spotlight at centre court in a Seattle Storm green suit. Looking the perfect part as her number 10 jersey headed to hoops immortality in the rafters.
This weekend the Minnesota Lynx may have honoured their 25 best player of all-time, including Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson, but last night they singled out one of the biggest. Not to mention the greatest defensive player women’s basketball has ever seen.
Sweet Sylvia Fowles has found her path to the Hall of Fame, but first all she has to do is look up and see her name between the banners she raised. Above that legendary 34.
“Dear Seattle”, Sue said.
“From the moment I heard my name on draft night, I knew this city would always hold a special place in my heart. Twenty-one years later, this place has become home. You embraced an eager rookie from Syosset, New York from Day One, and the rest was history. Together, we built a legacy that will always be remembered, adding to the rich basketball history this city holds.”
“It’s hard because I typically don’t talk about myself. I am the way I am because of the people in my life,” Fowles told fans in between some beat bowing fun. “It’s about me, but I wouldn’t be the same without those people helping me along the way.”
Future Hall of Famer Bird was joined by footballing fiancée Megan Rapinoe, Seattle’s very best rapper Macklemore, and the rest of her family and friends to watch her city, Seattle, have her number for life. Former teammates and Storm legends Swin Cash and Lauren Jackson made speeches.
Another one, across the coast somewhere in Brooklyn, tweeted her former dynamic duo partner’s number 10 with the word “forever”. All as Breanna Stewart and the New York Liberty won again.
Winning titles in 2015 and 2017 that came complete with Finals MVP trophies, Fowles has racked up accolades like she did rejections. Blocking more people than old flames on social media. An ignited passion that could never be extinguished like an eternal flame, Fowles also became a gold medal Olympic icon all the way to Tokyo. Just like Bird.
After three hours, confetti rained on the parade as the former number one pick in the 2002 draft’s jersey took to the rafters to join Jackson’s as the only other one to be retired by Seattle. When you’ve won four titles, been selected to 13 all-star games and remain the league leader in games played like Sue, you can see why.
Fowles now joins Whalen, Augustus, Brunson, and we’re sure soon Moore in the Minnesota Lynx ceiling she smashed. The all-time WNBA leader in rebounds, who also holds the double-double record. The former second pick by the Chicago Sky, six years after Sue (2008), played her last eight in the Twin Cities after debuting in the windy one.
Both Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles created a storm in the WNBA. Now in their collective career wake, the W is praying for a new day’s reign.