WNBA star Sue Bird weighs in on Diana Taurasi skipping 2015 season
NEW YORK – During Friday’s NBA All-Star Media Day, For The Win caught up with WNBA star Sue Bird to discuss Diana Taurasi’s stunning decision to sit out the league’s 2015 season. Taurasi’s Russian club team offered her more money than her WNBA salary — just to rest for the summer.
Bird, who played with Taurasi at UConn, felt her former teammate’s decision could initiate discussion in the WNBA.
“Obviously, the league is going to be missing one of its best players,” she said. “But her decision can bring a lot of important issues to the forefront that we need to address. I think Diana is making it known [that players can make similar decisions]. I think people thought something like this happening was a threat, but now that it’s actually a reality, we can go from there — and maybe change some things moving forward.”
And, though Bird said Taurasi’s decision wasn’t “just about money,” she still stressed that playing overseas has serious financial benefits.
“This is one major fact of the matter,” she said. “A lot of players go overseas to play, and there’s a lot of money to be made over there.”
For context: Taurasi makes about $1.5 million during the season in Russia. In the WNBA, she only makes $107,000 during the season — which is the league maximum.
Ultimately, Bird said, even though not all players will have the offer Taurasi had, the players who do receive similar offers will be the league’s best players.
“That’s the problem,” she said. “The WNBA needs those players. So, do I think the whole league is going to have this opportunity? No. But for those players that do, it’s real.”Sue Bird, UConn, WNBA