Bird Kicks Off Three Bobblehead Giveaways

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Kevin Pelton, | June 24, 2010

Opposing teams have had enough problem dealing with one Sue Bird this season. The Indiana Fever will look in the KeyArena stands tomorrow night and see 4,000 of her. The first 4,000 fans through the door before Friday's game (7:00 p.m., 1150 AM KKNW, LiveAccess, ) will receive collectible Bird bobblehead dolls in the first of three Storm bobblehead giveaways this season.

"This is the second edition of my bobblehead, so it's cool," said Bird, whose bobblehead was also given away in 2002 during her rookie season. "A lot of people have been asking me about it and they want one. It's fun. I'm glad they're doing it."

The last Storm bobblehead giveaway was in 2003, featuring a likeness of then-Head Coach Anne Donovan. The previous year, bobbleheads of Bird, Lauren Jackson were handed out at games, and Head Coach Lin Dunn was the subject of the first Storm bobblehead in 2001. This year, the three Storm bobbleheads, which include Swin Cash (July 25) and Jackson (Aug. 7), will link together to form the Storm's court at KeyArena when the trio is complete.

"I think it's pretty cool that the three go together as a court and they're a set," said Cash. "I don't think I've ever seen that before."

"We haven't done bobbleheads in a few years and really felt like it was a great opportunity to bring them back," said Storm CEO Karen Bryant. "First and foremost, it's really about the fans - creating interesting and fun promotions to continue to celebrate Storm fans and their love of our team and our players. Secondly, it's an opportunity to really showcase three players. Lauren and Sue certainly have a long legacy of success in a Storm uniform, and Swin has accomplished a great deal in a relatively short period of time. It's not about one bobblehead but celebrating them as the trio they are."

Bobblehead technology has advanced considerably since 2002, and fans are sure to find the updated versions of the Bird and Jackson bobbleheads more accurate depictions than the previous ones. Bryant praised Shannon Burley, the Storm's new director of marketing, for how they turned out, and Matt Heuer from the Storm's events and entertainment department worked with manufacturer Alexander Global to ensure trademarks like Cash's headband were replicated.

"I think that's really a credit to Shannon," she said. "Not only did she advocate for bobbleheads her first day on the job, she also has a lot of experience with various vendors and manufacturers and did a really good job of vetting those and getting the highest quality we could get. I think the quality of the construction of the mold and the painting is what makes the difference in terms of them really resembling our athletes. I thought Alexander Global did a good job.

"The first version of Sue was probably the furthest off, but credit to the manufacturer, they did a good job on round two. I think Lauren is probably the closest, with the exception of the recent change in hair color. Who knows? It may not be red by Aug. 7."

The players themselves disagree as to which of the bobbleheads is most spot on.

"I think Sue has the most detail in regards to her face, where her moles are," said Cash. "I thought Lauren's bun, they did the best they could possibly do in emulating her bun."

"They did do detail," added Bird. "For Lauren they have black nail polish, for Swin they have the headband, although it's outdated. It's a tough call."

"Sue's, definitely," countered Jackson. "Sue's is ridiculously accurate."

By dying her hair red late last month, long after the bobbleheads were finalized, Jackson threw a slight curveball. It's been suggested, only half-jokingly, that fans could use markers to color her hair.

"That's actually quite funny," she said.

The players may enjoy seeing themselves in miniature form, but ultimately it's Storm fans - at least those that arrive early - who will reap the benefits.

"We've gotten feedback over the years about how much fans love promotional giveaways," said Bryant. "Any time you can provide a fan with an additional incentive to enhance their game experience, it's a win, but more importantly when it has to do with celebrating our athletes, those tend to be the things that fans love the most. Bobbleheads are the perfect example of a way to provide the fan with a great commemorative gift but also celebrate three of our players."