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Seattle Has Shown Up for Sue Bird's Last Dance

The point god's final season has drawn record attendance. And the biggest crowds are still to come.

By Benjamin Cassidy August 5, 2022

Sue Bird shoots a layup between two defenders

Bird is finishing her career on a high note, regardless of whether the Storm take home a fifth title.

The year before Sue Bird joined the Storm, Seattle's nascent WNBA squad finished last in the league in attendance. That was 2001.

Two decades, four titles, and multiple arenas later, the city's lone professional basketball franchise is set to complete a total 180 in fan support. And one of the city's greatest athletes of all time is directly responsible for it.

Heading into Bird's last regular season home game Sunday, the Storm lead all WNBA teams in average attendance. It's not even a contest. In its first season at Climate Pledge Arena, the squad has drawn 10,192 fans per game. The next highest? The Phoenix Mercury, at 7,660 spectators a night.

With apologies to future Hall of Famer Breanna Stewart and star Jewell Loyd, the reason is obvious. Many fans have descended on the green dome to catch one last glimpse of the GOAT donning yellow and green.

Bird, who announced earlier in the season that this campaign would be her last, has been on a goodbye tour of late. In New York, which she's always called home, she received a jacket, three-minute tribute video, and ovation (she gave them a dagger three in return). In Phoenix, she squared off against former UConn teammate Diana Taurasi one last time. In Connecticut, the governor declared it "Sue Bird Day" before the first sellout at the Sun's home digs since 2019.

Now it's time for Seattle to bid her a (hopefully) very extended farewell. Wednesday was a good start. Bird and company easily handled the Minnesota Lynx at Climate Pledge in front of a sell-out crowd of 13,500, including Storm legend Lauren Jackson, University of Washington great Isaiah Thomas, and budding Golden State Warriors star Jordan Poole.

The 13,500 attendance capacity will stick for the start of the playoffs, the team says. But for Sunday's final regular season game (noon, ABC), the Storm will open the arena's uppermost deck arena, bumping the total number of ticketholders to 18,100. It's another sellout.

The team will honor Bird pregame. After the buzzer, the point god will address the crowd.

Expect some chants of "one more year" in return. Hey, it worked last time.

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