Sue Bird Rumors
The best story of the week involved the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where Bryant joined in a game of spades with several players from the women’s national team. “There was a little wine involved and he got very competitive in drinking the wine,” recalled Sue Bird, a four-time gold medalist. “And it was like he didn’t want to be behind anybody on these glasses.” “And we were, like, ‘Kobe, we’ve got practice tomorrow. We’re just sipping,’” she said. “No. He was into this wine. ‘I’ve had three glasses. You’ve only had one.’”
The Olympics took place two months after the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. At some point during the card game, Bryant picked up a newspaper and saw a photo of Celtics star Paul Pierce. “And he literally ripped out this picture of Paul Pierce and he folded it up and he put it in his pocket,” Bird said. “He was like, ‘This is motivation for next year.’ It was just this glimpse into how he worked, how he functioned.”
Carmax’s partnership with Stephen Curry has seen their ads pop up during NBA broadcasts all season, with the star poking fun at himself a bit as he deals with oblivious Carmax agents who don’t know who he is. His latest spot with the company went viral on Sunday because of the second basketball legend it stars, as Sue Bird makes an appearance, buying a car from a delighted rep who Curry thinks is confusing the number of championships he’s won.
Sue Bird is also contemplating the end of her run. “It’s not necessarily the competitive part that I’m going to miss,” she says the next day when Rapinoe has stepped away for a workout. “It’s the purpose part.” She remembers reading that NBA star Dwyane Wade planned to enter into therapy when he retired and says she’ll consider doing the same. “They say athletes die two deaths: when they retire and then when they actually die. That’s a huge void.”
For the past five years or so, she’s begun preparing, purposely digging into the business side of basketball—she’s gotten more involved with the players’ union, done color commentary for ESPN, and even worked in the front office of the Denver Nuggets. (She’s now interested in team investment and ownership, particularly with the women-owned Storm and the possible resurrection of the NBA’s SuperSonics.)
An offshoot of the longstanding voter registration organization Rock The Vote, Hoopers Vote took part in this week’s National Voter Registration Week by having ambassadors from the NBA and WNBA communities, including media that cover the league, publicly push people to make sure they’re registered to vote on multiple social media sites beginning on Thursday. A new website, hoopersvote.org, links to Rock The Vote and its various initiatives. Emmy Award-winning actress and producer Kerry Washington is taking part in the campaign. Current NBA players including Jackson, Duncan Robinson, Collin Sexton and Langston Galloway are taking part; WNBA stars Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Nneka Ogwumike, Elena Delle Donne and Renee Montgomery are on board, along with Hall of Famers Lisa Leslie and Rebecca Lobo. NBA Hall of Famers taking part include James Worthy and Alex English, along with media members such as Kenny Smith and Steve Smith of Turner Sports and Jalen Rose of ESPN. Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins and his twin brother Jason, the former NBA big man, are also ambassadors.
Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird sat next to Bryant and Gigi at the WNBA All-Star Game last July in Las Vegas. The four-time Olympic gold medalist — at the game with girlfriend and U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe — was sidelined with a knee injury. They got a chance to chat with Bryant and Gigi while watching many of the best women’s basketball players in the world. “He just really wanted to expose Gigi to as much greatness as he could,” Bird said. “He wanted her to meet Megan, to meet me. I know he’s taken his whole family to Megan’s soccer games. He’s been very present in the WNBA. He was going on this journey with his daughter, and I think we could all feel that it was going somewhere special. For him as a father, for her as a future basketball player, for them in that father-daughter relationship.”