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Sue Bird was one moment away from hanging up her gym shoes and Seattle uniform after the Storm’s 85-80 single-elimination second-round loss to the Mercury in Sept. 2021.

But as Sports Illustrated’s Ben Pickman wrote in January, the four-time WNBA champion listened to the crowd of 5,375 in Angel of the Winds Arena on Sept. 26 shout “one more year” while standing next to her college teammate and longtime friend Diana Taurasi.

Bird spoke with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks about the moment she thought her WNBA career was over heading into the intriguing game between Phoenix and Seattle.

“I was walking into that arena thinking—not knowing—thinking it was my last game when we played Phoenix in those playoffs,” Bird said. “I was like, ‘Good chance.’ There was a moment probably—we were down. It was a back-and-forth game-ish, but they definitely had the lead.

“And there was a moment where I was like—let’s call it early in the second half—where I was kinda like, ‘This might be your last half so let’s f---ing go.’ I actually thought that to myself.”

Pickman: Sue Bird Is Back! But the Storm Have Other Moves to Make.

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Before making the decision to return for her 19th season, Bird had previously discussed potentially retiring after the Storm’s loss in the playoffs.

“This is the first time where I'm really going to have to sit back, see how I feel, weigh some things. I know for sure that I want to let the emotion of the season die down,” Bird said, per Yahoo Sports. “I don't want to make some emotional decision.”

Instead, the 12-time All-Star will be back in a Storm uniform for the 2022 WNBA season. In 549 career games, Bird—the league’s all-time assist leader—has averaged 12 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

She also sits as the all-time WNBA leader in career starts (549) and a five-time All-WNBA first team member. She has played on five Olympic gold-medal-winning teams that includes the team that most recently won a gold medal in Tokyo Games in 2021

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