By: Nina Samone
Tonight, two of the most decorated WNBA players in history will face off against each other for the final time in WNBA regular season history – Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm.
Not only are the two decorated competitors, but they are very close friends and have been since playing together in the WNBA for nearly 20 years now.
Sue Bird is in her 19th and final WNBA season – retiring this year – and Diana Taurasi is in her 18th. This will be the 46th time the pair will have met in the regular season.
41-year-old Bird has won four WNBA titles, while 40-year-old Taurasi has won three.
The pair may have grown up on opposite sides of the nation, but they had one thing in common that brought them together as friends – basketball.
On November 2nd, 2000 in Hartford, Connecticut, the pair played their first ever game together – and as teammates. Bird was a junior at the time and Taurasi was a freshman.
Their first game as WNBA opponents ended in Taurasi and the Mercury defeating Bird and the Storm 84-76 on May 28th, 2004, where they both scored 22 points. Later that summer the pair would win their first Olympic gold medal together as USA Basketball teammates.
According to former WNBA and USA Basketball coach Dan Hughes, what Bird and Taurasi have is very unique and genuine. “It’s a special, it’s rare, and it’s something that we really need to study,” Hughes said.
“Because I think there are things that we can all apply from the friendship and the story they’ve had with each other.”
Voepel, Mechelle. July 22nd, 2022. ESPN. “Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi to meet for last time in WNBA regular season.” <https://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/34272586/sue-bird-diana-taurasi-meet-last-wnba-regular-season>