Dating a professional soccer player

How she describes herself in social settings might hint at how she eventually expands her comfort zone. "I'm usually just dipping my toe in the water until the extrovert part of me can come out." After Sue Bird hit a crucial basket to help Seattle win Game 1 of the 2010 WNBA Finals, the Storm went on to sweep Atlanta for their second championship.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.

"We have a lot in common and just sort of clicked," Rapinoe says. And Rapinoe has been very vocal in her belief that being out is important because it can help young people with their self-esteem."Megan feels really passionately about things," Bird says.But I never felt that made me any less real." Rapinoe says, "Sue has the same convictions about her life and the things she believes in as I do but, I think, does it in a different way."It's important to create space for athletes -- and people in general who are in the spotlight and don't want all the attention on them -- to be who they are in a way that's comfortable for them." But give Bird time."But, actually, I enjoy that people don't have to worry about me. "You're probably never going to know if something bad is happening in my life.

I think I was just made that way." Sue Bird is in her 15th season with the Seattle Storm.

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.

She wasn't going to say certain things in the media. Now, when you talk about diversity or inclusion or racial inequality or sexism or other hot-button topics, she's going to give it to you how she sees it.

I love and respect that about her." Indeed, now Bird is more fully voicing her heart, her experience, her views, her truth.

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.