Jul 22, 2022 - Sports

Retirement of WNBA greats marks the end of an era

Taurasi and Bird

Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird after winning their fifth gold medals in Tokyo last summer. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird will share a basketball court for what is likely the final time Friday night when Taurasi's Mercury host Bird's Storm.

Why it matters: Two of the greatest women's basketball players to ever live — friends who've been linked for more than two decades — may never compete against each other again. It's a historic night.

By the numbers: This is the 46th time they'll play each other in the regular season, tying the WNBA record for most meetings. Tonight is Taurasi's 500th game, joining Bird as the only members of that club.

  • Bird, 41, leads the rivalry 25-20 and is the league's all-time leader in assists. She's retiring at the end of the season.
  • Taurasi, 40, is the league's all-time leading scorer. She's a free agent at the end of the season and hasn't decided on retirement yet.

The big picture: The two hoops legends also won five Olympic gold medals together, the only basketball players to ever accomplish that feat.

What they're saying: "I'm starting to feel closure," said Taurasi, who first met Bird during her recruiting trip to UConn.

  • "It's a bit sad … but you know it's gonna be a moment where all those memories kind of go in your head and take you back."
  • "It'll be an end of an era on the court but it'll be the beginning of an era off the court," she added. "And we're excited for that, too."
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