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The Amazing Sue Bird



eebmg

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Great recognizes great. Sue sees the field. Russell walking in with the Sue Bird Jersey at end of clip




"There is just so much character that goes into being able to have that much poise, to be that clear, to function like that so beautifully throughout those opportunities," coach Pete Carroll said of Wilson. "He's just as good as you can get. I don't know how anybody could ever be better than what he continues to show us in those situations. He's as good as you can get.
 
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CL82

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Just a few Finals highlights.

A quibble: How does the play by play guy not know what a “no look pass” is?
 
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I don't believe Herschel ever attended any of Sue's games at UConn. On the other hand, Sue's mom drove from LI , NY to attend every game and eventually got an apartment in CT to be close to UConn. I remember vaguely that Sue's father did not want her to attend UConn.
Sue's father did all the 'heavy lifting' in Sue's high school years, esp at Christ the King where I would sit with him during practices. Don't recall Sue's mom [Nancy?] being around very much during that time.
 

MilfordHusky

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Sue's father did all the 'heavy lifting' in Sue's high school years, esp at Christ the King where I would sit with him during practices. Don't recall Sue's mom [Nancy?] being around very much during that time.
I don't know what Herschel did or not, but I recall reading that Sue's mom got them an apartment in Queens, so Sue could attend Christ the King and have a reasonable commute. The commute from Syosset would have been about 25 miles and an hour each way. I recall seeing Sue's mother on TV at several games in Storrs or Hartford.
 
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I don't know what Herschel did or not, but I recall reading that Sue's mom got them an apartment in Queens, so Sue could attend Christ the King and have a reasonable commute. The commute from Syosset would have been about 25 miles and an hour each way. I recall seeing Sue's mother on TV at several games in Storrs or Hartford.
I believe Herschel did .. I mean, I was there at the time :)
 

MilfordHusky

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I believe Herschel did .. I mean, I was there at the time :)
I believe what you say about Herschel. I'm just sharing what I've read and seen about Nancy. Sue was badly shaken up when Nancy's boyfriend or new husband passed away.

Here's an interesting story on Sue and TASSK from 22 years ago:


And an article on both parents:

 
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I repeat myself, but the Lieberman award should be renamed. No, can't do that. Maybe a new category among the Nobel Prizes.
 
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There is a new article (as of 10/17) up on ESPN in which Sue Bird makes some choice comments about the question of why women's soccer has more mainstream acceptance among the general public than women's basketball. She was amplifying the comments of Megan Rapinoe, who opined a few weeks ago on this subject. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to grab a link for the new article, but you can easily find it on ESPN (either the web site or the app).

Basically Sue and Megan are both saying that women's soccer players are perceived (accurately or not) as "girls next store" -- normal-sized, cute, non-threatening, mostly straight white girls who could be your neighbor if you are a white suburbanite. Whereas women's basketball players are big, largely Black, largely gay, and are perceived that way, causing the mainstream audience to "other" WBB players but not women's soccer players. Sue said that the WNBA tried, a few years ago, to market itself as consisting of "girls next door", featuring Sue herself as Exhibit A. But she implied that she would take part in such an effort again, because she is not representative of the majority of the league in several demographic dimensions (being white and normal-sized), and she doesn't think that kind of marketing would allow WNBA players to be true to themselves.

I understand this perspective and take it seriously, but still I question the empirical assumption behind it. The NFL and NBA have a large and enthusiastic white audience despite the fact that the demographics of their players (regarding both body size and race) are similar to those of the WNBA relative to the norm for their gender.

And is the WNBA really less popular than equivalent women's pro soccer leagues? I don't closely follow the economics of women's soccer, but I know that the current league is the third attempt at a financially viable pro soccer league for women, the previous two attempts having failed. Of course the women's soccer team gets a big audience (in person and on TV) for the Olympics and the Women's World Cup, but so does the women's Olympic basketball team. Are the attendance and TV ratings for regular pro soccer really higher than for the WNBA? I would be surprised if that were the case.
 

Bama fan

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There is a new article (as of 10/17) up on ESPN in which Sue Bird makes some choice comments about the question of why women's soccer has more mainstream acceptance among the general public than women's basketball. She was amplifying the comments of Megan Rapinoe, who opined a few weeks ago on this subject. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to grab a link for the new article, but you can easily find it on ESPN (either the web site or the app).

Basically Sue and Megan are both saying that women's soccer players are perceived (accurately or not) as "girls next store" -- normal-sized, cute, non-threatening, mostly straight white girls who could be your neighbor if you are a white suburbanite. Whereas women's basketball players are big, largely Black, largely gay, and are perceived that way, causing the mainstream audience to "other" WBB players but not women's soccer players. Sue said that the WNBA tried, a few years ago, to market itself as consisting of "girls next door", featuring Sue herself as Exhibit A. But she implied that she would take part in such an effort again, because she is not representative of the majority of the league in several demographic dimensions (being white and normal-sized), and she doesn't think that kind of marketing would allow WNBA players to be true to themselves.

I understand this perspective and take it seriously, but still I question the empirical assumption behind it. The NFL and NBA have a large and enthusiastic white audience despite the fact that the demographics of their players (regarding both body size and race) are similar to those of the WNBA relative to the norm for their gender.

And is the WNBA really less popular than equivalent women's pro soccer leagues? I don't closely follow the economics of women's soccer, but I know that the current league is the third attempt at a financially viable pro soccer league for women, the previous two attempts having failed. Of course the women's soccer team gets a big audience (in person and on TV) for the Olympics and the Women's World Cup, but so does the women's Olympic basketball team. Are the attendance and TV ratings for regular pro soccer really higher than for the WNBA? I would be surprised if that were the case.
Quick llok at attendance figures show WNBA declining in the last few years, and NWSL rising. 2019 shows 6535 per game for WNBA and 7337 for NWSL. I would need to look further for TV numbers. I do not profess qualifications to opine on the other subject matter you covered. Too subjective for me.
 
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Here’s the article.
IMO UConn used that same “girl next door” marketing approach very successfully for years (including [featuring] Sue). And today?

1602989780096.png
 
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I would add to the equation the fact that the Men's National Soccer team is rarely competitive in the World Cup or the Olympics leaving US soccer fans only one place to look for their US soccer fix.
 
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There are also stats showing that the popularity of other sports for young girls is increasing. Girls' youth soccer is more popular than basketball. Volleyball, for instance, is attracting high school athletes away from basketball. There still may be more basketball players than volleyball players currently, but the gap is closing.

Yes, there seem to be more talented basketball players than there were twenty years ago, but as a percentage of female athletes taken as a whole, basketball's portion of the pie is shrinking. Since I am at work I won't have time to dig up a whole lot of statistics, but there is this link from the Coach and A.D. web site.


For fans of women's sports in the US, I think a lot of the demographics for fans of a given sport reflects the sport or sports that their kids play.

There may be something to the perception of an athlete's appearance and orientation affecting the popularity of a particular sport, especially among old farts like us. I remember one mom asking my wife if she was comfortable with my daughter playing travel softball because of the "kind of girls (lesbians) that played the sport." No, we didn't and she never had any issues with any of the girls on her teams at all. There was some drama with a few girls in high school (she went to a high school for the arts) but that had nothing to do with athletics.

However, I think our society in general is becoming a lot more tolerant about such things. I know my kids are. "Our" generation won't be around that much longer so I think the idea that the WNBA is not as popular because of society's perception of their athletes will become a non-issue. If professional women's basketball is to survive in the future, they will have to put a good, watchable product on the floor. That's why people tune in to the games. They have to figure out how to make more women want to watch sports, which has always been, and will continue to be, the biggest challenge the WNBA has.
 
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If professional women's basketball is to survive in the future, they will have to put a good, watchable product on the floor. That's why people tune in to the games. They have to figure out how to make more women want to watch sports, which has always been, and will continue to be, the biggest challenge the WNBA has.
You make two different points in your last paragraph: one about the "watchability" of the WNBA product, and another about the inclination of adult women to be paying spectators for women's sports.

I think the WNBA has proven that it more than satisfies the "watchability" requirement. Anyone who watched the recent finals between Seattle and Las Vegas saw one of the best teams, playing some of the best basketball, that has ever been seen in women's basketball. The preceding series between Las Vegas and the Connecticut Sun was only slightly below that level.

Your second (bolded) point is the more significant one. As I've said here several times, I think there is a basic difference between young adult men and young adult women regarding their propensity to be sports watchers, even for women's sports. Women in their 30's and 40's, even if they were high school or college athletes, do not spend time being sports spectators unless their own child is on the team. Men in the same age range, on the other hand, can spend hours upon hours watching the NFL and the NBA. If Rebecca Lobo or Sue Bird were in some profession that had nothing to do with basketball, how much time do you think they would spend watching the WNBA? A small fraction of what their male family members (if any) spent, or so I would guess.

But none of this has anything to do with explaining why one women's sport (soccer) is more popular (if it really is) than another one (basketball). I suspect that while soccer may have larger in-person attendance, the WNBA (through ESPN) has a larger TV audience. But who really knows?
 

Argonaut

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You make two different points in your last paragraph: one about the "watchability" of the WNBA product, and another about the inclination of adult women to be paying spectators for women's sports.

I think the WNBA has proven that it more than satisfies the "watchability" requirement. Anyone who watched the recent finals between Seattle and Las Vegas saw one of the best teams, playing some of the best basketball, that has ever been seen in women's basketball. The preceding series between Las Vegas and the Connecticut Sun was only slightly below that level.

Your second (bolded) point is the more significant one. As I've said here several times, I think there is a basic difference between young adult men and young adult women regarding their propensity to be sports watchers, even for women's sports. Women in their 30's and 40's, even if they were high school or college athletes, do not spend time being sports spectators unless their own child is on the team. Men in the same age range, on the other hand, can spend hours upon hours watching the NFL and the NBA. If Rebecca Lobo or Sue Bird were in some profession that had nothing to do with basketball, how much time do you think they would spend watching the WNBA? A small fraction of what their male family members (if any) spent, or so I would guess.

But none of this has anything to do with explaining why one women's sport (soccer) is more popular (if it really is) than another one (basketball). I suspect that while soccer may have larger in-person attendance, the WNBA (through ESPN) has a larger TV audience. But who really knows?
I guess I'm an anomaly.

I'm a woman, in my 30s, who watches a lot of sports. Women's basketball is my sport of choice, but I also watch a fair bit of the NFL (and play fantasy football), MLB, and love to take in a live hockey game.

Trust me, female sports enthusiasts are out here, and while we (obviously) don't even come close to matching our male counterparts in number, we are a pretty knowledgeable and fervent group of fans.
 

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