Megan Rapinoe leads emotional tributes to fiancée Sue Bird as she retires from basketball

Megan Rapinoe leads tributes as basketball legend Sue Bird ends WNBA career

Footballer Megan Rapinoe has led tributes to her basketball legend fiancée Sue Bird, as she played her final WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) game.

Bird, who has won four Olympic gold medals with the US basketball team, played her final game with o Seattle Storm on Tuesday (6 September), losing to the Las Vegas Aces 97 to 92 at the WNBA semi-finals.

“The greatest to ever do it. I am so proud of you,” Rapinoe said in an Instagram post along with a photo of Bird as a child.

And Seattle Storm posted on Twitter: “Groundbreaking. Game-defining. Legendary. The definition of GOAT [greatest of all time].”

Layshia Clarendon, the first openly non-binary WNBA player, said: “Thank you Sue Bird. 

“What an honor to share a team USA jersey with you, to witness your excellence throughout the years and compete against you at the highest level.”

“I’m so thankful for 20 years here, I’m going to miss it so much,” Bird tearfully said at the end of her last match.

“I wish we could have done a little bit more to get to the finals but I’m so proud of the team this year, I’m so, so, so proud to be a member of the Seattle Storm.

“It has been my honour to be a part of this franchise, to play for these fans… I hope I made everybody in here proud.”

She then began to look emotional as the crowd cheered “thank you Sue”.

Bird, 41, and Rapinoe, 37, officially made “power couple” status when they got engaged in October 2020, with even US president Joe Biden congratulating the pair.

“Love will always win,” he wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations, Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe!”

Rapinoe previously revealed the secret to the pair’s relationship is keeping things “normal”.

She told People that while they “support each other” as athletes, they are also able to “totally unwind” and be completely themselves together.

“I think it is just the understanding of what we have to go through and the appreciation of, you know, each other’s skills and lives is really special,” she said.

“And in the same sense, we are just normal to each other. Which is really nice. Like, neither of us are like, ‘oh wow you are the best person that has ever played basketball’. Which she is!

“It is nice to just be able to totally unwind and be completely yourself and, you know, have someone understand and appreciate how special it is, what you are doing, but also just love you for who you are and just to be that kind of support system.”