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Archive for August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022 — Two imminent exits in the women’s sports world

More than two decades ago, Sue Bird was written up in the forgotten magazine Sports Illustrated On Campus, where she was labeled as “the most popular team-sport athlete of all time.” This was even before she had dribbled a basketball for the United States Olympic Team or for any WNBA team.

Today, Serena Williams dropped an interview (well, a first-person account) of her intention to retire in, of all places, Vogue Magazine..

This summer is likely to be the summer of discontent for fans of two of the greats in the history of American women’s sports. Both have, for better or worse, done it their way. And they’ve done it in completely opposite ways.

Sue Bird plays a team sport. Serena Williams plays an individual sport (albeit she has done quite well in team scenarios such as doubles, World Team Tennis, and the Fed Cup).

Sue Bird is from New York, Serena Williams is from Los Angeles.

Bird is Caucasian; Williams is Black.

Bird is an out lesbian, married to U.S. women’s soccer midfielder Megan Rapinoe. Williams is married to Internet investor Alexis Ohanian, and the two have a child together.

Bird is an even-keeled player who has never averaged more than two personal fouls per game in her entire career, and has maybe one technical foul called against her in her entire career. Williams, however, can show anger on the tennis court, and has, on more than occasion, received penalties for on-court conduct which resulted in her losing matches at the U.S. Open.

These two women — these two champions — are about to step off their respective courts for the final time. Bird, at the end of the Seattle Storm’s playoff run. and Williams, at the end of her U.S Open run.

Each will be celebrated in their own way.

But they will be remembered as out-and-out winners.

As it should be.