Let’s start with this week’s most important Sue Bird news. The Storm guard re-signed with Seattle, the organization announced on Tuesday, extending one of the 21st century’s longest lasting team-athlete marriages: Bird has played with our local WNBA hoopers since 2002…2002! Drafted No. 1 overall out of the University of Connecticut, Bird debuted just one year after the Mariners won 116 games and one year before LeBron James started his NBA career. In the years since, Bird has won three championships with the Storm and racked up the most assists and games played in WNBA history.
After missing the entire 2019 season due to a knee injury, Bird wasn’t a lock to return to the Storm, but she had also made it clear that she wanted to remain in Seattle. It was far from a surprising development.
But yesterday's news that Bird would be serving as an athlete ambassador for a Portland-based CBD brand, Mendi, certainly was. Why, you might ask, given that the sports recovery company’s CEO is Rachael Rapinoe, the sister of Bird’s girlfriend, Megan Rapinoe? Well, even though your family members might use cannabidiol, a cannabis extract, to calm arthritis and other maladies, CBD is still a prohibited substance in the WNBA. That hasn’t stopped Bird from taking advantage of Mendi’s hemp-derived products at different points of the year.
“I believe in CBD. Even though it is on the ban list for the WNBA, it is not for the Olympics so there are pockets of time where I can use it regularly,” Bird said in a news release. “I’ve seen the positive effects. For me, it comes in the form of sleep, for the most part. There are definitely days when I’m feeling anxious or just need to calm down, I take it. But for the most part, I use it for sleep and it has been amazing.”
Bird and Rapinoe's CBD support comes at a time when leagues like the NBA and NFL have considered relaxing their marijuana policies. Former players, such as Lofa Tatupu, have either launched their own CBD companies or backed existing startups. Still, research on CBD’s anti-inflammatory powers has been scarce so far, so Be Like Bird on this one at your own discretion.