Earlier this week Seattle Storm guard and SI Swimsuit model Sue Bird played the last home regular-season game of her career. Not only was it the largest turnout in franchise history with 18,100 fans in attendance, but it was also the best attended women’s basketball game in the state of Washington’s history. Climate Pledge Arena was filled with signs—“Bird you are why I hoop” and “I came home early from my vacation to watch her play last home game”—and fans roared “Thank you Sue” in a stadium-wide chant.
Bird is set to retire as the WNBA’s all-time assists leader with 13 All-Star Game appearances over her 19-year career. Having played the most games of any player in WNBA history, she has had plenty of time to curate a style that reflects her most authentic self. Earlier this year, the sneaker enthusiast talked about the beginning of her journey with fashion, sharing that “it’s been a struggle because I feel like there was what I knew I felt comfortable in, but I knew that didn’t match up with, I guess, what society was telling a girl, a woman was beautiful.” Today, she attributes learning how to express herself through clothing largely to fiancee Megan Rapinoe’s willingness to take risks with her own outfits as well as finding the confidence to disregard societal gender norms.
In honor of Bird’s pending retirement—the league playoffs begin on August 17—we’re taking a look back at the four-time WNBA champ’s style alongside major moments throughout the power player’s impressive career.
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2002: Number One Overall Draft Pick
Bird starts all 32 games as a rookie and earns All-WNBA First Team honors.
2004: First WNBA Championship and First Olympic Gold Medal
Two months after winning gold at the Athens Games, Bird helps to carry the Storm to its first title in franchise history.
2006: Named to WNBA All-Decade Team
In recognition of the 10th anniversary of the WNBA, Bird is recognized as one of the 10 most influential players in the league’s first decade.
2008: Second Olympic Gold Medal
Leading Team USA in steals, Bird wins her second Olympic gold medal in Beijing.
2010: Second WNBA Championship
Bird sinks the winning shot in Game 1 to play a crucial role in ultimately sweeping the Atlanta Dream in the final series.
2011: Named Top 15 at 15
As part of the WNBA’s 15th anniversary, Bird is named as one of the top 15 players in league history.
2012: Third Olympic Gold Medal
Bird leads Team USA in assists and captains the squad in London.
2016: Named Top Player on WNBA 20 at 20, Fourth Olympic Gold Medal
The four-time Olympic gold medalist cements her selection as one of the top 20 players of all time.
2017: Becomes WNBA’s All-Time Assist Leader
Bird sets the career mark in a game against the Washington Mystics, with her 2,600 assist.
2018: Third WNBA Championship, Becomes All-Time Leader in Games Played, Wins Women’s Basketball World Cup for the Fourth Time
Bird hits the milestone of playing 500 games in the WNBA in the same year that she wins her fourth FIBA World Cup championship and a third title with the Storm.
2020: Fourth WNBA Championship
Bird becomes the first player in WNBA history to win titles in three separate decades.
2021: Fifth Olympic Gold Medal, Named as Top Player on WNBA 25th Anniversary Team
Bird not only brought home her fifth Olympic gold medal from Tokyo, but she also joined the W25 roster alongside Storm teammate and fellow SI Swimsuit model Breanna Stewart.
2022: Final Regular-Season Home Game
Notoriously displayed in the tunnel before games, Bird’s style is something to envy as she is not afraid to style bold pieces, apt to incorporate prints and always sports the sweetest kicks. Maintaining her roots and love for layering cozy pieces—she credits this habit to her East Coast upbringing—she manages to pull off an effortless swagger. We are taking notes and you should, too.