The top of Sue Hen’s retirement will come when the WNBA season approaches in 4 months and the Storm’s blueprint is a brand new course with out the best level guard in franchise historical past.
Ceremonially, the Storm would bid farewell to and honor Hen when she retired her #10 jersey on June 11 at Local weather Pledge Area throughout a recreation towards the Washington Mystics.
Former Byrd teammate Lauren Jackson is the one different Storm participant to have her jersey retired.
“I do know in some unspecified time in the future we will convey her again and retire her jersey, however why cease there?” Storm coach Noel Quinn mentioned final season. “It is best to get a statue exterior the constructing for what you’ve got accomplished not only for this franchise, however for this league, this sport, and this metropolis. Can anybody guarantee that occurs?”
“I’ve mentioned it over and over, Sue deserves all her flowers. She’s a job mannequin and has been an envoy not only for girls’s basketball however for the game on the whole for over 20 years. Sue Hen embodies whirlwind basketball as a result of she does it proper each single day.”
Since being drafted #1 total within the 2002 WNBA Draft, Byrd has spent her 21-year profession enjoying 19 seasons for the Storm.
The 5-foot-9 ponytail playmaker from Syosset, New York, turned a Seattle icon and a fixture within the Storm’s lineup whereas enjoying and beginning 640 video games—probably the most in WNBA historical past—and compiling a 333-247 common season document and 34-26 mark within the playoffs for greater than twenty years.
She introduced retirement plans final June and spent the second half of the 2022 season singing praises throughout a farewell tour that drew hundreds of followers who flocked in droves to look at her ultimate stops across the league.
At first, the very cool Sparrow was hesitant about her tributes and pre-game festivities, however she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection and affection bestowed upon her.
“The Farewell Tour was nice,” mentioned Hen. “I did not know what I used to be moving into or predicting what it will be like, however I could not have requested for a greater send-off. All of the love, clearly right here in Seattle however even on the street simply seeing the turnout and seeing individuals put my shirt on or individuals put my sneakers on or individuals carry streamers. It was unbelievable and I am actually glad I did. I wasn’t certain I needed to and now I am unable to think about not doing it.”
Hen performed her ultimate recreation on September 6, shedding 97-92 to the Las Vegas Aces in Recreation 4 of the NBA semifinals. After I walked off the court docket for the final time at Local weather Pledge Area, the gang chanted, “Thanks, Sue!”
“One of many hardest issues about retiring isn’t being in a crew setting once more,” Hen mentioned on the time. “That is 100% of the toughest components. It is actually exhausting to duplicate what the setting is and what in the event you really feel. It is such a protected place. … It is so distinctive and intimate. You get to warfare with individuals and that relationship is so particular. I will in all probability miss that probably the most” .
Hen, 42, is extensively thought of the best guard in WNBA historical past and leaves behind a formidable legacy that features 4 WNBA championships and 13 WNBA All-Star appearances in addition to league data for many wins (333) and assists (3234).
After all, the affect of birds goes past the storm. The previous Connecticut Huskies star received two NCAA championships, a document 5 Olympic gold medals with the ladies’s nationwide crew and 5 Euroleague titles.
“In some unspecified time in the future I’ll look again at every part, mirror somewhat bit and take all of it in,” Beard mentioned. “It is only a lot. There’s lots you consider. … Largely I will miss the individuals. All of the individuals I performed with, the coaches, the individuals within the constructing, the Storm followers who actually embraced me and took me in.
“There’s lots to course of now. However on the way in which, I will have an opportunity. And it isn’t like I am going too far. I will be round.”