Sue Bird Is Taking a Big Nest Egg Out of Retirement

Amber Garrett - Author
By

Jun. 16 2022, Published 3:46 p.m. ET

Point guard Sue Bird is widely considered the GOAT of women's basketball, but even the greatest careers come to an end eventually. The 41-year-old, who has played for the Seattle Storm since she was drafted into the WNBA in 2002, has decided the 2022 season will be her last.

However, she'll move into retirement with a pretty comfortable net worth, thanks to her WNBA salary, earnings from playing overseas in Russia, and several endorsements.

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Sue Bird's net worth is in the millions, but her Seattle Storm salary is surprisingly middle class.

Despite playing for a professional league, the WNBA doesn't have the kind of bankroll the NBA does, and that's reflected in the salaries star players take home. Bird's salary for the 2022 season is only $72,141, which is the veteran's minimum pay. This was a pay cut, however, over her salary from the previous few years, where as a free agent she took home the WNBA's supermax salary of $221,450.

Suzanne Brigit Bird

Professional women's basketball player

Net worth: $6 million (estimated)

Birthdate: October 16, 1980

Birthplace: Syosset, N.Y.

Education: Attended Syosset High School for two years before transferring to Christ the King in Queens, N.Y. She attended the University of Connecticut from 1998 to 1992, where she led the Huskies to an undefeated season in her senior year.

Spouse: Engaged to soccer star Megan Rapinoe since October 2020.

Children: No kids

Sue Bird has played for the Seattle Storm for 19 years and has also led the U.S. Women's National Basketball Team to five Olympic gold medals. She has also played numerous off-seasons in Russia for e Dynamo Moscow, Spartak Moscow, and UMMC Ekaterinburg.

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Like many WNBA players, Bird spent several off-seasons playing in Russia, where players can often earn far more than they do playing in the U.S. In fact, Bird attributes her millionaire status to the salary she pulled in playing for Spartak, where she reportedly earned 10 times what she did those same years in the WNBA. Of course, as currently imprisoned player Brittany Griner can attest, there are some risks associated with playing in Russia.

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The team was owned at the time by the late Russian oligarch Shabtai Kalmanovich, a former KGB spy durned diamond trader who had a big interest in women's basketball and a big enough bankroll to give top U.S. athletes offers they would find impossible to refuse. While Bird was still playing for his team, Kalmanovich was assassinated in 2009 in what investigators concluded was a "contract-style" killing related to his business dealings.

In addition to her overseas salary, Bird has also scored lucrative endorsements throughout her career.

Like many top athletes, Bird has earned sponsorship deals with brands including Nike, Glossier, State Farm Insurance, and American Express, which also has likely added to her balance sheet.

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It also can't hurt that Bird is one-half of one of the biggest power couples in sports. Her long-time partner and fiancée Megan Rapinoe is one of the most celebrated players in women's soccer. The couple appeared together in ESPN's Body Issue and on the cover of GQ.

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Rapinoe brings an estimated additional $5 million net worth to the table. However, the outspoken advocate for pay equity in sports would argue her worth should be far more, given how much more U.S. Men's National Team players get, despite failing to ever even advance to a World Cup final, let alone win. (Rapinoe and the rest of the USWNT, on the other hand, earned two World Cup titles with Rapinoe alone scoring a total of 6 FIFA World Cup goals.)

Though her athletic career may be coming to a close, Bird may have a second career in broadcasting.

With her education in Communication and decades of media experience as an athlete and advocate, Bird is likely to field plenty of offers to do color commentary or analysis for professional or college basketball broadcasts. Whether that's the direction she wants to take is unclear. She will likely want to spend some time focusing on her wedding with Rapinoe before moving on to the next phase of her career.

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