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First Person

Sue Bird, Seattle Storm Guard

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As told to Richard Deitsch

Sue Bird, Seattle Storm Guard
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Sue Bird, Seattle Storm Guard.
Jennifer Pottheiser/WNBAE/Getty Images

ON LETTING HER HAIR DOWN People probably assume I sleep in my uniform. Then I get up and go to the mall or the market in my uniform. But how you dress can show a little of your personality. I love jeans and funny T-shirts that say something crazy on them like GETTING LUCKY IN KENTUCKY. I also like funky shirts that are smaller than basketball shirts so they're more form-fitting.

ON THE STORM'S WINNING SEATTLE'S FIRST PRO TITLE IN 25 YEARS To feel them embrace us was the best part. People ask me to compare this with winning in college. [She won national titles with UConn in 2000 and '02.] You can't. At Connecticut it was expected. It had been done before. There was pressure to keep the legacy going. When I got here [in '02], the team was three years old. It's awesome to feel like you were part of that building process.

ON HAVING PLAYED IN RUSSIA FROM JANUARY TO MAY An agent I know said to me, 'There's this team in Moscow, and they really want you.' I was like, 'Wow. Moscow?' It sounded crazy. I didn't say no or yes at first. Then I realized how good it was to have international experience. To be successful, you have to expose yourself to different situations -- different styles of play, different teammates, different coaching. It was great for me.

ON HER FAVORITE RUSSIAN SAYING Ya ne panimayu. It means I don't understand. It was the only thing in Russian I could say with confidence.

ON THE WEATHER IN RUSSIA Sometimes, for like a week, it was so cold you could not go outside for more than a minute without it hurting. Like a sharp pain. If you had a runny nose, it would freeze right on your face. But my apartment was great. It had heated floors!

ON HITCHHIKING IN MOSCOW You do it all the time. It's not dangerous. If the team driver couldn't pick us up, [teammate] Kamila Vodichkova and I would go out to the street and put our hands up. If the first car didn't stop, it was surprising. You pay 10 rubles [35 cents] for a ride of a few miles.

ON RUSSIAN MEN I had some interesting run-ins. Somehow this guy I met got my number. He's text-messaging me using a translator where you type something in one language and it translates it. I learned there is no exact translation of anything. I'm sure this is not what this kid wanted to write but what came out was You Are the Love My Heart. I Want to Be with You.

ON FORMER UCONN TEAMMATE AND CURRENT PHOENIX MERCURY POINT GUARD DIANA TAURASI One of the world's five best players. Her confidence and what she does for her team set her apart. She's tough. One time she posted me up and pushed me a little. I kind of flopped, and they called an offensive foul. She was like, 'Man, that's weak.' I was like, 'Hey, don't hate.'

ON HOW LONG SHE'LL PLAY Until my knees fall off. I hope to make it until I'm 30, but say New York gets the 2012 Olympics. That would be my lofty goal, to play in the Olympics in New York City, at 32.

ON LIVING IN SEATTLE I bought a town house here last April [2004]. I love it. At the place where I get my dry cleaning, they have my bobblehead doll on their counter. The team goes together to the same sushi restaurant, and they know us all by our first names. Everybody treats us well here. It's a close-knit community. Even the bagel place I go to, the guy gave me a free bagel for winning the championship!


Issue date: June 6, 2005