Sue Bird stands in the wings of the gym at Fern Hill Elementary School in Tacoma, Wash., calmly assessing the audience she is about to address. She looks straight ahead but sees everything around her. Everything. Before she is introduced, she turns to her left and plucks a stray hair from a reporter's sweater. "Sorry," she says with a smile. "That was bugging me."
Now she takes the microphone and starts working the crowd of third-, fourth-and fifth-graders sitting on the floor. She is there to promote the Seattle Storm, the team that picked her No. 1 in April's WNBA draft, and the kids have some questions for her. "Are you better than Kobe Bryant?" "Do you have your own limo?" "Can you do the splits?" No to all of the above. Bird has questions for them, too. "What do you guys listen to? 'N Sync?"
" Britney Spears?"
Adamant noes all around. Wary of another defensive stop, Bird adjusts. "Usher?"
" Lil' Romeo?"