The top of Sue Hen’s retirement will come when the WNBA season approaches in 4 months and the Storm’s blueprint is a brand new course with out the best level guard in franchise historical past.
Ceremonially, the Storm would bid farewell to and honor Hen when she retired her #10 jersey on June 11 at Local weather Pledge Enviornment throughout a sport in opposition to the Washington Mystics.
Former Byrd teammate Lauren Jackson is the one different Storm participant to have her jersey retired.
“I do know in some unspecified time in the future we’ll carry her again and retire her jersey, however why cease there?” Storm coach Noel Quinn stated final season. “It’s best to get a statue outdoors the constructing for what you have accomplished not only for this franchise, however for this league, this sport, and this metropolis. Can anybody be sure that occurs?”
“I’ve stated it again and again, Sue deserves all her flowers. She’s a task mannequin and has been an envoy not only for girls’s basketball however for the game basically for over 20 years. Sue Hen embodies whirlwind basketball as a result of she does it proper each single day.”
Since being drafted #1 general within the 2002 WNBA Draft, Byrd has spent her 21-year profession enjoying 19 seasons for the Storm.
The 5-foot-9 ponytail maker from Syosset, New York, has turn into a Seattle icon and a fixture within the Storm lineup whereas enjoying and beginning 640 video games—essentially the most in WNBA historical past—and compiling a 333-247 common season file and a 34-26 mark within the playoffs for greater than 20 years.
She introduced retirement plans final June and spent the second half of the 2022 season singing praises throughout a farewell tour that drew hundreds of followers who flocked in droves to observe her remaining stops across the league.
At first, the very cool Sparrow was hesitant about her tributes and pre-game festivities, however she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection and affection bestowed upon her.
“The Farewell Tour was nice,” stated Hen. “I did not know what I used to be stepping into or might have predicted what it was going to be like, however I could not have requested for a greater send-off. All of the love, clearly right here in Seattle however even on the highway simply seeing the turnout and seeing folks placed on my shirt or folks placed on my footwear or Individuals holding up indicators. It was unbelievable and I am actually glad I did. I wasn’t positive I needed to and now I am unable to think about not doing it.”
Hen performed her remaining sport on September 6, shedding 97-92 to the Las Vegas Aces in Sport 4 of the NBA semifinals. Once I walked off the courtroom for the final time at Local weather Pledge Enviornment, the group chanted, “Thanks, Sue!”
“One of many hardest issues about retiring isn’t being in a workforce surroundings once more,” Hen stated on the time. “That is 100% of the toughest elements. It is actually laborious to duplicate what the surroundings is and what for those who really feel. It is such a secure place. … It is so distinctive and intimate. You get to struggle with folks and that relationship is so particular. I will in all probability miss that essentially the most” .
Hen, 42, is extensively thought of the best guard in WNBA historical past and leaves behind a powerful legacy that features 4 WNBA championships and 13 WNBA All-Star appearances in addition to league information for many wins (333) and assists (3234).
In fact, the affect of birds goes past the storm. The previous Connecticut Huskies star gained two NCAA championships, a file 5 Olympic gold medals with the ladies’s nationwide workforce and 5 Euroleague titles.
“In some unspecified time in the future I will look again at all the pieces, replicate slightly bit and take all of it in,” Beard stated. “It is only a lot. There’s loads you concentrate on. … Largely I will miss the folks. All of the folks I performed with, the coaches, the folks within the constructing, the Storm followers who actually embraced me and took me in.
“There’s loads to course of now. However down the highway, I will get an opportunity. And it isn’t like I am going too far. I will be round.”