Terrence Vacaro/NBAE/Getty Images
LJ on Bird's 10 Years
Throughout the 10 years Sue Bird has spent with the Seattle Storm, Lauren Jackson has been by her side. The two No. 1 picks, both superstars in their own right, have also become close friends off the court who at one point spent nearly the entire year playing together when they teamed up in Russia. All of that makes it funny, in hindsight, that the first time they met Jackson got Bird mixed up with another new teammate.
"I thought Sue was Adia (Barnes)," recalls Jackson. "I was coming to training camp a couple of days late and I walked on to the court and they were training. I thought Adia was Sue."
Eventually, Jackson got her two teammates straightened out, but it took a little more time for a friendship to blossom between Bird and Jackson.
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty Images
Bird and Jackson have always been there to celebrate each other's successes.
"I'm shy now but I was really shy when I was younger," Jackson explains. "Sue and I probably didn't say a word to each other for a little while."
Bird has noted that the on-court chemistry clicked right away for her and Jackson, whose games complemented each other perfectly to form a potent inside-out duo. A good percentage of Bird's 1,726 career assists have gone to Jackson, who returns them with her high praise of her point guard.
"I think she is the best point guard in the world, flat-out, no doubt," Jackson says. "There's nothing more I can say about her. She blows me whenever she makes passes, when she makes clutch shots."
It wasn't until their second season playing together, 2003, that Bird and Jackson really got to know one another outside of basketball.
"After we sort of both started talking to each other and hanging out a little more, it made our lives a lot easier," says Jackson. "Getting to know each other off the court definitely helped our on-court relationship. We started going to the Kangaroo and Kiwi. Once that happened, we've been very close ever since."
Now, Jackson says she can't imagine having gone through the last decade without Bird.
"For me, she's been there through thick and thin, literally," she explains. "She's just a loyal, fun-loving kind of girl. I can go to her house from two o'clock in the afternoon to two o'clock in the morning and just sit there talking. She's just really easy to hang out with.
"She's very level-headed and calm. I know that when I get flustered or upset about something on the court or off the court, she calms me down. I do the same for her. It's nice that I have that sort of relationship with her and trust her.
"Now that we're well and truly vets, it's a lot different from 10 years ago. It's great to have grown up with her and now we'll go through adulthood as close friends too, after this is long gone."Comments blog comments powered by Disqus