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WNBA superstar Sue Bird: 'We are not cute white girls like soccer players'

October 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

They are sport's ultimate power couple -- equal partners as multiple winners at world and Olympic level for the United States -- and even in the autumn of their careers still cutting it at the highest level

Sue Bird turns 40 this week but was a standout in claiming her fourth Women's National Basketball Association (WBNA) title with Seattle Storm, watched from start to finish of the coronavirus shortened season by her girlfriend Megan Rapinoe, the US women's soccer star.

Rapinoe stayed in the WNBA bubble to support Bird's latest triumph and celebrated with the team as the Storm swept past Las Vegas Aces in three straight games in the finals.

It certainly rankles with Bird, who said it was a hot topic of conversation with Rapinoe, particularly in the 90 plus days they spent in isolation as the WNBA season played out from its Florida base.

"Even though we're female athletes playing at a high level, our worlds, you know, the soccer world and the basketball world are just totally different," Bird told CNN Sport's Don Riddell.

"And if you look at the players in the 'W' (WNBA) most of them are Black, and a lot of them are gay," comparing the support and media attention she and the US National Women's Team (USWNT) attracted for its 2019 World Cup victory with that for the WNBA.

Bird believes the problem does not lie in the marketing of the WNBA, more how society and the outside world is willing to embrace diversity, arguing that the "cute White girl next door" approach does not work for her league.

"If the WNBA was going to have a season end and they wanted us as players to show up and play, they were going to have to support us in this fight and to the league's credit, they did," she said.

Both Bird and Rapinoe have also voiced strong political views, with the soccer player drawing national headlines with her stinging criticism of US President Donald Trump as the USWNT headed for that 2019 World Cup triumph in France.

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