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"Megan feels really passionately about things," Bird says.
"I just never felt that calling, if that's the right word.
And if someone had castigated her, "I would have been like, 'Fine, goodbye.' I never was tormented within myself. "There's another moment it was right there, but I didn't say anything." Yet she knew she would eventually.
"Of course, I have a whole journey -- everybody does in life. I don't like to be, not necessarily 'gossiped' about but the topic of conversations." Bird knows people might assume that her relationship with Rapinoe, who has long been involved in LGBTQ activism, is what prompted her to speak out now. "This actually has nothing to do with Megan, in terms of how free I feel to talk about it," Bird says. I chickened out." She later overheard a reporter talking to one of her Olympic teammates, Elena Delle Donne, about having recently come out. And Bird is pleased that the WNBA has in recent years embraced LGBTQ pride as an initiative and reached out to LGBTQ fans -- something the league didn't do in Bird's early years as a pro.
Her accolades are already legendary: two NCAA titles at UConn when the Huskies were establishing their dynasty in the early 2000s; two WNBA championships with the Storm; four Olympic gold medals with Team USA; three world championship golds; and four Euro League titles while competing in Russia.
Now an All-Star for a record-tying 10th time, she'll start for the West squad before an adoring Key Arena crowd on Saturday in Seattle.
"And I thought, Yeah, those people can get pushed to the side and not worried about," Bird says.
But I never felt that made me any less real." Rapinoe says, "Sue has the same convictions about her life and the things she believes in as I do but, I think, does it in a different way.Bird calls it one of the happiest moments of her career. The renowned Bird historian, aka Sue's lifelong best friend, grew up around the corner from her in Syosset, some 30 miles east of midtown Manhattan. They've been there for each other through everything, including Sue's parents' divorce when she was in high school, her injuries and the doubts she might not have shared with anyone else. Of course, they are also relentless competitors, even trying to outdo each other with birthday presents.Brad and Sue were born 13 days apart in October 1980, and their older sisters were sports teammates. (Barnett concedes that Bird won when she sent a singing telegram to his house.) As teens, they once had a game of one-on-one that got so heated that it came to a 20-minute standstill when both refused to get the basketball after it rolled to the other end of the gym.I love and respect that about her." Indeed, now Bird is more fully voicing her heart, her experience, her views, her truth.The Long Island girl has grown into a woman who has traveled the globe and has elevated her consciousness.
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Bird might be in the fourth quarter of her basketball career -- at 36, she is the oldest player in the WNBA and is in her 15th season with the Seattle Storm -- but she is expertly managing the clock.