Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird has set a new WNBA record for all-time games played, notching her 500th career contest in Atlanta.
Bird, one of four (Lauren Jackson, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart) No. 1 overall draft picks in Seattle Storm history, quickly set the standard for what it meant to be a franchise player at the point guard position. After winning two national championships at UCONN and capping a stellar senior campaign that featured a perfect 39-0 record, Bird brought that same mentality to the Emerald City, posting rookie averages of 14.4 points, six assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting over 40 percent from three and 91.1 percent at the stripe. At the time, she set franchise records for points (33) in a game and in just one season set the franchise record for assists (191) in a season. She ultimately earned a Western Conference All-Star appearance as a rookie, her first of 11 all-time, ranking first in the WNBA.
Over the course of her career, Bird has averaged double-figure scoring and has never come off the bench in 16 Storm seasons. She averaged a career-best 6.6 assists per game in 2017, and in 2011 recorded a career-high 14.7 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting. A career 85.2 percent free throw shooter, Bird led Seattle to its two WNBA championships in 2004 and 2010, steering the franchise to 12 postseason appearances during her career. During the team’s 2010 title run, she averaged 12.1 points and a playoff career-best 7.7 dimes per game en route to directing the Storm to a perfect 7-0 postseason record.
In 2018, Bird has continued to climb the ranks in both Storm and WNBA record books. The all-time assists leader in league history (2,769), Bird became the all-time scoring leader in franchise history and rose to seventh all-time in the WNBA on July 8 against Washington, as she moved past Lauren Jackson (6,007) and now has 6,057 points for her career, the eighth player in WNBA history to eclipse the 6,000-point mark. She ranks third all-time in three’s made (832), fifth in steals (643) and is on pace to become the WNBA’s all-time leader in minutes, currently ranking second (15,936) behind Tina Thompson (16,089). Additionally, Bird is pacing to set the WNBA’s single-season assists record, currently owned by Ticha Penicherio, who dished out 236 assists in 2000 with Sacramento. Bird has 159 dimes in 2018, so she will need to average 7.7 assists down the stretch to break Penicherio’s record.
On Monday night, Bird was named to her 11th WNBA All-Star Game, moving past Tamika Catchings (10 appearances) for the most in league history, all of which have come with the Storm.