Sue Bird passing Katie Smith for second in 3s sheds light on her longevity

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Sue Bird passing Katie Smith for second in 3s sheds light on her longevity originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

Sue Bird’s legacy in women’s basketball is already cemented. She’s an icon at the collegiate, professional, and international level.

At this point, the four-time WNBA champion is just playing the game because of her love for it, while also being on a contending team in the twilight of her career.

In the Seattle Storm’s (11-2) most recent win against the Connecticut Sun (8-3), Bird drained three, three-pointers and tied Kate Smith for third all-time in three-pointers made in a career with 906.

In the Storm's next game against the Indiana Fever (1-12), Bird drained three three's to take sole place.

Reaching first all-time in three-pointers will be a tall task for Bird. The reason being is because the holder of that record is still active and arguably the greatest women’s basketball player of all-time: Diana Taurasi.

Coincidentally, Bird will also have to pass Smith to climb the points ladder. Bird is currently 60 points shy of supplanting Smith for sixth.

Bird’s longevity is unique. In her league-record 21st season, she’s just adding to her records.

“Sue is just solid,” South Carolina women’s head coach Dawn Staley said. “She knows how to manage a game. She knows how to get the best out of each player. She doesn’t ruffle feathers. I think that’s what all of her teammates respect about her. She’s always been consistent and the same. When you’re that predictable as a leader, they know how to follow. They know that she’s no nonsense. She’s all about business. That’s the approach from practices, throughout the games to off the court.”

Currently first in assists, games played, and minutes played. The latter two are befitting of her experience in the league.

What’s also appropriate with Bird's time in the league is she’s now playing with and against women who looked up to her as kids, with each draft, players inch closer to being the same age as her career.

The players of today deal with some of the stuff Bird had to deal with back then, but it may be a little different. Bird entered the WNBA when it was five-years-old, and from then she’s had to deal with a litany of issues. People criticizing women’s basketball, NBA players not really seeming to support the league, and just a bevy of takes the general public would have on the sport and league.

Social media only exacerbated the problem, but it’s also helped quell it at the same time. 

As Bird is expected to retire in the near future, she can say she left the league better than when she entered.

Now she’s featured in a commercial with Stephen Curry; public figures such as Drake are supporting the league; little girls from across the globe are dreaming of entering the league; broadcasters and advertisers view the league as a beneficial product.

There’s much more for the league to accomplish and improve as it celebrates its 25th season.

Bird, as she racks up accolades, can say she played a true role in the change. Being the pioneer she is.