Storm head coach implores 'white guys' writing columns to respect Sue Bird, WNBA

Jason Owens
·3-min read

The Seattle Storm won the WNBA championship in dominant fashion on Tuesday, capping a sweep of the Las Vegas Aces in the Finals with a 92-59 Game 3 victory.

It marked the second championship in three seasons for Seattle and the fourth in franchise history, all since 2004.

Eleven-time All-Star point guard Sue Bird has been there for all of them. Breanna Stewart secured Finals MVP honors, but Bird remains a team leader at 39 years old and averaged 10.4 points and 9.6 assists during Seattle’s postseason run to the title.

Where does Bird rank in Seattle sports history?

Her resume, which also includes four Olympic Gold medals, prompted a question to Storm head coach Gary Kloppenburg after Tuesday’s victory. Is she the best Seattle sports athlete of all time?

Kloppenburg’s answer was an emphatic yes. It came with a hefty side of media critique.

“Oh yeah,” Kloppenburg said. “I don’t know what’s going on up there with those columnists. They all need to take notice, I think. ... To think of what she’s done through a couple of decades, it’s really unprecedented.

“The other side of that is the women’s game hasn’t gotten the respect — and partly because of the white guys that are writing those type of columns. Y’all white guys wake up out there. You’ve got a whole tremendous gender that can flat-out play basketball.”

PALMETTO, FLORIDA - AUGUST 04: Head coach Gary Kloppenburg (R) and Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm react to a play during the second half of a game against the Connecticut Sun at Feld Entertainment Center on August 04, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Gary Kloppenburg took issue with some local Seattle sports chatter that didn't give Sue Bird her due. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Debate ignited by Seahawks columnist

Kloppenburg’s message appears to be a response to Seattle Times columnist Bob Condotta. Condotta, who covers the Seahawks, recently tweeted this praise of quarterback Russell Wilson, who is in the midst of mounting an NFL MVP campaign.

Condotta published his tweet on a Sunday that saw the Seahawks improve to 4-0 as Wilson tallied his league-leading 16th touchdown alongside two interceptions.

That same Sunday, Bird recorded 16 points and 10 assists as the Storm took a 2-0 lead in the Finals.

Some took issues with Condotta’s take in his replies, Minnesota women’s basketball coach and five-time WNBA All-Star Lindsay Whalen included.

Others pointed to another icon of Seattle sports.

There are surely some Seattle sports fans who would make a case for Sonics Hall of Fame point guard Gary Payton. Or Bird’s teammate on two of those championship teams and three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson.

Kloppenburg didn’t settle this newly hatched Seattle sports debate on Tuesday. But he made sure that Bird got the respect she deserves in the conversation.

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