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For herself, for fans and for Seattle, Sue Bird will hold off on retirement and play one more season – The Athletic

There was a moment in the now infamous jersey swap when you see the realization hit Sue Bird. The Storm had just lost to the Mercury in the playoffs, ending Bird’s 18th season in the WNBA, and ESPN’s Holly Rowe had pulled in Bird and Diana Taurasi for a postgame interview. The fans begin chanting, louder and louder, “One more year.”

Bird steps back from the mic and turns a bit to her right, as if she’s about to face to those fans, then she shakes her head and dips her face into her jersey to wipe the tears welling in her eyes. Taurasi, always the instigator, happily turns to the crowd and raises her arms, amping them up even more like a conductor drawing forth from their choir. Bird hunches over a bit as Taurasi pulls her in for a hug.

“Ah, man,” Bird says.

She pleads with Taurasi, her best friend, to cut it out. But even though Taurasi does, the fans don’t.

“One more year,” they chant. “One more year.”

On Friday, she gave the fans exactly what they wanted. Bird announced she’s returning for one more year.

Despite her many accomplishments, Bird is not a player who likes drawing attention to herself. She flies about as far under the radar as possible for an athlete with five Olympic gold medals, four WNBA championships, two NCAA championships and a professional career longer than some of her WNBA teammates have been able to dribble a basketball. She has done just about everything one can do in college and professional sports, except one thing: sit comfortably in that admiration.

And in that moment when she was about to turn and face the crowd, she didn’t.

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