Sue Bird says prospect of playing in new arena with Seattle Storm ‘very tempting’ as she contemplates return

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After being honored as the NHL’s Seattle Kraken opened Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday night, Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird said Monday that the prospect of returning for her 19th WNBA season in the new arena is “very tempting.”

Bird, who turned 41 earlier this month, was noncommittal about her future after being serenaded with chants of “One more year!” by Storm fans as the team was eliminated from the playoffs in September at its temporary home, Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington.

On Monday’s edition of ESPN’s ManningCast during Monday Night Football, Bird appeared as a guest in the third quarter of the Seattle Seahawks‘ 13-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Asked whether she’s decided on retirement, Bird cited her experience at Saturday’s 4-2 Kraken loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

“I don’t know,” Bird said. “Luckily our free agency doesn’t start for a while, so I get some time to think.

“We just opened a new arena here in Seattle, and I happened to be in there for the opening of the Kraken game. And … it was tempting. The thoughts of playing there were very tempting. I’ll leave you with that.”

Already a legendary figure in Seattle thanks to her key role in the Storm’s four WNBA championships, Bird was among several local sports stars in attendance Saturday, a group that also included the Seahawks’ DK Metcalf, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson and former Seattle SuperSonics’ stars Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton.

Like Kemp and Payton, Bird played the bulk of her career at KeyArena, the previous incarnation of Climate Pledge Arena. A renovation that cost more than $1 billion retained only the historic roof and outside windows from KeyArena, creating a new building — one Bird will call home if she decides to return for the 2022 season.

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