Phoenix – Sue Bird and Diana Torassi have been here before. One last game, goodbye to tears. After Mercury defeated the Storm in one playoff game last season, the shirts were swapped, and Four-time WNBA champion Bird was ready to hang him.
Home fans in Seattle chant ‘Another year’ He helped move the 41-year-old to give him one last run, but he wasn’t Just time I heard it.
Back in October when Taurasi entered her fourth WNBA Finals at home, Bird was suited to an off-court role as part of the ESPN crew covering Phoenix’s match with Sky. Mercury fans sang the bird with the same petition, creating a favorite memory of her in a typical setting of epic interstellar battles.
It’s been another year, and the two best friends had another breakout in one last game together in Phoenix on Friday night.
“Those memories stay close to my heart. Whether we play against each other, with each other; it’s been an amazing ride in any career when you’ve been doing something with your best friend of 20 years,” said Torassi, who debuted on her 500th run on Friday. Life is good.”
Even though the game may have ended an era, on the court it felt like any other birding competition. The Storm was trying to peak at the end of the season, before the playoffs, while Mercury was trying to stay in the post-season competition.
“I think it’s just a celebration. I don’t think about it any further,” Bird said.[I] You find balance in enjoying these moments. They are special, right? But also not letting her beat me in a way that will take me out of the game.”
The story of Bird and Torassi began in 2000, when the latter joined defending champion UConn as a very eager student. Since then, there’s been an NCAA Championship together (five of them in total), five Olympic gold medals, seven WNBA Finals combined, and many fights and friendship forged from iron. Their story on the field could end with the duo holding a joint post-match press conference after their regular season final together, a first for the two of them.
Breanna Stewart, a two-time Olympian of both Taurasi and Bird, knows how their beginnings can tie them together as a brilliant UConn fellow.
“To go to school together, work through the trenches. Sometimes the program isn’t the easiest for the players, having your teammates as your backbone, and supporting you. This is where I’m sure their relationship and friendship started, and now they have just grown on over many years,” Stewart said.
For six years, Stewart ranked first in the row for Bird’s legacy, after winning a national championship, just like the 21-year WNBA veteran. For Stewart, Bird’s influence extended beyond the court, as she advocated for players and helped craft a new collective bargaining agreement as vice president of the players’ union, setting new standards for what her teammates were worth. Bird also served as the progressive face of the league, advocating alongside her gay, often black female colleagues for equality in the areas of race, gender, sexual orientation, and more.
Go to follow
“or not [Diana and I] They were able to play in a way that inspired people to be themselves,” Baird said. “I think we’re just proof that if you really invest in yourself that way, believe in yourself that way…and hopefully part of our legacy is just being yourself.” “
Bird isn’t the only WNBA fan to walk away at the end of the season. Two-time champions Candice Parker and Sylvia Fowles have also hinted at or announced their retirement, closing a league chapter featuring some of basketball’s most influential figures.
The night before Storm vs. Bird will be finished when the Storm playoff round ends, but Taurasi may still be going.
Bird hopes she and Torassi will put on some good performances over the years. Although he only got two points in one field goal attempt on Friday night, it was really a show.
The all-time nursing leader finished with five assists: the classic Sue. On the other hand, Al-Tourasi made an explosive game with 28 points and six three-pointers: the classic Diana. Mercury won, 98-78.
“I think when you play against Dee and she starts early, you know you’re going to be in for a long night,” Baird said. “That’s kind of what makes it so cool. Is it contagious, isn’t it? There’s something contagious when Dee flows like that, strikes.”
Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard joked that no one knows the true age of Torassi. We’ve never seen her birth certificate, and there’s no way a 40-year-old would play so well.
“Dee has no proof. Despite a season of ups and downs for Torassi and Mercury, she can play as long as she wants to play, but obviously she’s playing at a very high level and she can really do a lot for our team,” said Nygaard, despite a season of ups and downs for Torassi and Mercury.
Taurasi lit up the roaring crowd multiple times with deep hoppers, thunderous masses, and even picked up Jeep Bird and picked up assist, raising the noise to the decibels normally designated in qualifying. Over 14,000 fans came to watch one last fight in the regular season between Bird and Torasi, some of whom even flew in from Brazil. On a large scale, about 13,000 fans attended the finals game as fans, demanding the final season, chanted for the final farewell.
Before informing Mercury of Bird’s gift of a custom pair of sneakers and playing a video in honor of thoughtful messages from players, ending with Taurasi:
“It’s time to leave,” she said. “We love you, Sue.”
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