Hello, I’m Dan Gartland. You gotta love how Seattle showed up for Sue Bird.
In today’s SI:AM:
🐐 Sue Bird’s Farewell
⛳ The LIV lawsuit against PGA Tour
🟤 Another NFL player who requested a tradeIf you’re reading this on SI.com, you can sign up to get this free newsletter delivered to your inbox every weekday at SI.com/newsletters.
The Aces ruined the party
Sue Bird hangs him up after two decades in the WNBA and received an appropriate shipment yesterday in Seattle.
A sold-out crowd of more than 18,000, the largest in franchise history, showed up for their final regular-season home game with the Storm. It was a remarkable scene. This is what it looked like to Greg Bishop of SI.
And here’s what it looked like on TV when Bird was introduced into the starting lineup to loud cheers from the crowd.
The crowd may have been the largest in Storm history, but it wasn’t much of a surprise that Seattle fans showed up in droves to see Bird. The team leads the WNBA this season by a wide margin, averaging over 10,000 per game, while the Mercurys are second at 7,700.
The Aces won yesterday’s game89–81, but the mood was still jubilant after the game as Bird addressed the crowd.
“I’m not going to lie, it sucks to lose my last game. But you know what, I also lost my first game. So that’s okay,” Bird told the crowd.
(You can watch his full crowd address here, as well as his postgame interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe.)
Defeat could end up deciding if Bird can play another game in Seattle. The Storm are 20-13 with three games remaining, good for fourth in the league. If the Mystics (currently fifth at 20-14) can get past them in the standings, their best-of-three playoff series would start with two games in Washington and the Storm would need to win at least one game to give themselves a home game.
The Storm’s pursuit of home-court advantage is just one of the several fascinating elimination races to watch during the final week of the WNBA. There are currently five teams battling for the final two playoff spots, all separated by one game. Only the Fever (5–29) were eliminated from the playoffs. Everyone is still alive.
Every time an athlete retires after a two-decade career, it’s the end of an era, but that’s especially true in Bird’s case. She joined the Storm just two years after they entered the league. It’s impossible to imagine the franchise without her. Even further, the WNBA was just five years old in its rookie season. It is impossible to imagine the league without her. But, thanks in large part to players like Bird, the WNBA is a great place today. There may never be another Sue Bird, but there will be plenty of other great point guards because Bird helped pave the way. If you wonder who the next big league playmaker will, look no further than Sabrina Ionescuwho this weekend became the first player in WNBA history to record 500 points, 200 assists and 200 rebounds in a single season.
The best of Sports Illustrated
Bob Harig went on the LIV Golf players’ lawsuit against the PGA Tour and it’s ugly. … Erling Haaland’s Premier League debut couldn’t have gone better, writes Avi Creditor. … Albert Breer stopped by the 49ers camp and came away very impressed with Brandon Aiyuk. … The current glut of American players in the Premier League bodes well for the USMNT’s World Cup fortunes, writes Brian Straus.
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Around the world of sports
Oklahoma wide receivers coach Cale Gundy has quit after reading an insult during a meeting. … Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder injured his calf while coming out for a visit to the mound. … Bobby Bonilla’s ill-fated contract with the Mets auctioned off for nearly $200,000. … Browns running back Kareem Hunt reportedly asked for a trade. … Braves starter Ian Anderson, who was a key part of their winning World Series rotation last year, was sent to Triple A as he continues to struggle this season. …Nick Kyrgios won his first singles tour in three years.
The first five…
…things I saw yesterday:
5. Jacob deGrom, on his second start after an injury, throwing the fastest batting of his career.
4. by Daniel Vogelbach hustle to score first.
3. Add Murray’s dunk on Paolo Banchero.
2. Justin Reid’s Security Chiefs 65-yard field goal in practice.
1. Sue Bird’s interaction with a young fan seated at the edge of the yard.
The White Sox debuted their infamous uniforms with shorts on this day in 1976. How many games did they end up playing in them?
Friday SIQ: Who won baseball’s first Olympic gold medal?
Answer: Cuba, who beat Chinese Taipei 11-1 in the gold medal game.
Three players, all pitchers, from this team then defected and played in MLB: Osvaldo Fernández (Reds and Giants), Rolando Arrojo (Devil Rays, Rockies, Red Sox) and Orlando Hernández (who won four World Series with the Yankees and the White Sox).
Ermidelio Urrutia’s son Henry had a cup of coffee with the Orioles and Lourdes Gourriel is the father of current major leaguers Yuli Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (the eldest Gourriel spells his last name differently). Another gold medalist, Víctor Mesa, is the father of two Marlins prospects — Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. — who signed deals in 2018 with combined signing bonuses of more than $6 million.
Prior to 1992, baseball had been contested in some early versions of the modern Olympics, but never as a medal event. At the 1912 Games in Stockholm, a team of American track and field athletes played an exhibition game against a local baseball club. Baseball was played as a demonstration sport at the 1984 and 1988 Games in Los Angeles and Seoul before being officially added to the program in Barcelona in 1992. It was included in the program last summer in Tokyo but will not not part of the 2024 Games in Paris, although it is expected to return in 28 when the Games return to Los Angeles.
From the vault: August 8, 1955
Initially, I was going to approach this as, “Hey, look at this fringe sport that once made the cover of SI!” But after doing some research, it seems that archery is way more popular than I ever imagined.
The August 8, 1955 cover story, written by Reginald Wells, details the popularity of archery in the United States, both among target shooters (like 16-year-old national champion Ann Marston) and bow hunters:
The urge to shoot bows and arrows has accompanied man for around 100,000 years. In modern times, it begins and ends for many people in childhood with a set of suction cup bow and arrow and nothing better to shoot than the neighbor’s cat or the bathroom mirror.
Today, an estimated 4 million men, women and children participate in some form of archery, and because it can be enjoyed by young and old alike, it is becoming the fastest growing family sport in the United States. At least three-quarters of our population have at some point been a “plinker” with the bow and arrow, but the history of archery as a genuine sport in the United States dates back to 1828 when a group of young men founded the United Bowmen. of Philadelphia. For nearly a century, archery remained the esoteric exercise of a few enthusiasts. Then Dr. Saxton Pope, a big game hunter from California, killed a slew of African lions with a longbow. This feat fired the imagination of sportsmen around the world and propelled archery into a meteoric rise in popularity that has yet to reach its zenith.
Four million people sounded like a ton of archers to me. That’s about 2.4% of the estimated US population at that time. But that’s nothing compared to today.
According to a 2015 study conducted by Responsive Management on behalf of the Archery Trade Association, approximately 23.8 million adults in the United States have participated in archery, or 9.9% of the adult population. It seems absurd to me. You’re telling me that one in 10 American adults can shoot a bow and arrow, and do so on a fairly regular basis? Maybe it’s because I live in the densely populated northeast but I don’t know anyone who is an archer. But then I looked for archery clubs near me and saw two within half an hour drive, so what do I know? Wells was right when he wrote that “the skyrocketing popularity of archery […] has not yet reached its zenith.
Discover more SI’s archive and historical images at vault.si.com.
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