Dating a professional soccer player

Dressed up or dressed down -- even in her practice togs -- her look is effortless.Bird might be in the fourth quarter of her basketball career -- at 36, she is the oldest player in the WNBA and is in her 15th season with the Seattle Storm -- but she is expertly managing the clock.

Bird calls it one of the happiest moments of her career. The renowned Bird historian, aka Sue's lifelong best friend, grew up around the corner from her in Syosset, some 30 miles east of midtown Manhattan. They've been there for each other through everything, including Sue's parents' divorce when she was in high school, her injuries and the doubts she might not have shared with anyone else. Of course, they are also relentless competitors, even trying to outdo each other with birthday presents.Now an All-Star for a record-tying 10th time, she'll start for the West squad before an adoring Key Arena crowd on Saturday in Seattle.She is a revered teammate, the center of every huddle, a fan favorite from coast to coast; the ponytailed point guard always has looked the part of the girl next door as much as the face of a franchise. But few outside her family and friends truly know her."Where the league is now is appropriate, I think, in terms of support." But the WNBA, Bird says, faces many other challenges. women's soccer team's earlier-than-expected exit at the 2016 Olympics, Rapinoe had time to see other events, including women's basketball."Homophobia hurts our league; racism hurts it; sexism hurts it," she says. For us, it's racial and gender." Rapinoe is five years younger than Bird, and despite playing professional soccer in Seattle since about 2012, she had met Bird only briefly before last year. At some point, she and Bird began a conversation -- about pretty much everything -- that is still going on. She's just so level-headed." Rapinoe drew attention last year for kneeling during the national anthem in support of then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest of racial inequality.

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