Sue Bird is many things -- an Olympian, a WNBA All-Star, a WNBA champion. One thing she is not, if you ask her, is old.
I feel the same way I did two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, five years ago. I feel like Im the same player and I think I can only get better, she said in the locker room on Tuesday night after the Storm had lost to the Liberty in the whirlwind last 50 seconds of the game.
And at 33, Bird is proving just that.
Though she got off to a slow start this season, shes recently hit her stride, getting back to her same -- not old -- tricks. In the last two games, she had 16 and 21 points, which is much more characteristic of the seven-time All-Star.
The difference, it seems, was just getting used to the WNBA again. (Bird hasnt actually played in the WNBA since 2012 due to injury, although she continued to play overseas.)
You know, the WNBA as a whole is much faster paced, a quicker game," Bird said. "The talent level is really high and I think I took the fact that I hadnt played in two years for granted. I took it lightly. So yeah, its taken a little while to get used to that.
While the readjustment might have been more difficult than expected, Bird was adamant that her health was not a factor in her early performances this season.
I know I didnt play particularly well in the first couple of games this season, but my health has never been a reason for that," Bird said. "I think i just wasnt ready for it. I kinda forgot [what it would be like to play in the WNBA]. But I definitely got a reminder real quick.
This year, the WNBA season is condensed to accommodate the World Championships in the fall, which, if all goes well, Bird will be participating in.
But dont bother asking Sue Bird about the future. She has her sights set on the present.
I mean, you ask this question now and I know why: its cuz Im getting older and blah, blah blah," she said, "but even when I was 23, 24, my answer would have been the same: right now Im with the Storm season and thats what Im focused on. And when World Championships come, you know, if Im on that team Ill focus on that.
And like a young, spirited adventurer, or maybe just a seasoned veteran in disguise, she shook her ponytail and looked over her left shoulder: