Sue Bird didn’t have a master plan that would turn her into the sports legend that she is today. The Seattle Storm point guard says things just progressed naturally, from playing on her hometown courts on Long Island to competing in arenas around the world. But one doesn’t acquire multiple gold medals and league championships just by chance.
Bird’s secret is that she works hard and plays smart, on the court and off.
Basketball is a physical game and requires a toughness of body and mind, which Bird exemplifies. Now 36, Bird is arguably better than ever, despite injuries that have resulted in 10 surgeries over her career.
Making the right choices
“I was really lucky to be surrounded by a lot of people who supported me, gave me advice, and gave me the brutal truth, which was, ‘Hey listen, this is a fork in the road. Are you going to let this affect you and have an impact on your career? Or are you going to use it as motivation to bounce back and be better?’”
Bird realized that even though there are many things you can’t control, there are some things you can. You can prepare. You can choose how to respond to adversity. You can develop focus and prepare both physically and mentally for winning the game.
“It’s no lie. Everything is mental,” she says. And Bird is committed to treating her body well. She sees nutrition, fitness, and rest as things worth spending time on because they are areas where she does have a choice.
Setting an example for kids
“Health is everything,” Bird says. Applying her approach of “control what you can control,” Bird makes smart decisions on nutrition, fitness, and preventing injury and illness. On August 18, Bird championed an active lifestyle as part of whole health at Youth Fitness Night presented by Kaiser Permanente, when the Storm defeated the San Antonio Stars in an exciting fourth quarter comeback. Bird has also participated in Kaiser Permanente vaccination clinics, and the Seattle Storm Community Practice, also presented by Kaiser Permanente.
Bird’s approach to basketball and her health make clear that wise choices and commitment to goals can pay off. “You’ve got to prepare yourself in all aspects of life,” she says. “Practice, fueling with the right foods, rest, preventing illness and injury. These are areas where we can make smart decisions that provide for a good quality of life and move us closer to our dreams.”