Two legends have officially retired. Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles left it all on the court when they played one last time in a matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Seattle Storm.
WNBAPA President, Nneka Ogwumike, reflected on Bird’s and Fowles’ careers, “The legacy that they’re leaving – it touches so many young players that I can’t wait to see how that evolves in someone else’s game. They’ve done so much for the league, so much for the culture, so much for certain franchises that are now living in history.”
Many WNBA stars shared how Bird and Fowles were the trailblazers and leaders in the league; and how without them, the WNBA would not be what it is today.
When asked to discuss the impact both Bird and Fowles made on each other, they didn’t mention basketball all too much, but instead, focused on the strengths of the individual.
Fowles said, “Sue Bird is everything this game needed: her leadership, her sisterhood, her friendship, and just the things she does for the community. I think any young player, a young point guard should have a good foundation of role models to go off of and Sue Bird is definitely one of those people.”
Bird said, “Sylvia is the one player I think in our league, when you see how her teammates interact with her, how they take to her – I know they jokingly call her grandma and whatnot – she really just has a certain nature about her that is so warm, so welcoming and so inviting. I think the way that she impacts her team, the way she’s able to bring groups together, I can’t even think of another player that does it the same way Syl does. Believe me, I could sit here and talk about points and rebounds and championships and all of the things, but that, I think, is the secret ingredient that she has.”
There’s no doubt these two players influenced the league in a way that will forever change the sport for women. It will be exciting to see how their legacies continue to impact young players with so much of their athletic careers ahead of them.