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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.She has never been in better shape and isn't talking about retirement anytime soon.Her accolades are already legendary: two NCAA titles at UConn when the Huskies were establishing their dynasty in the early 2000s; two WNBA championships with the Storm; four Olympic gold medals with Team USA; three world championship golds; and four Euro League titles while competing in Russia.Brad and Sue were born 13 days apart in October 1980, and their older sisters were sports teammates. (Barnett concedes that Bird won when she sent a singing telegram to his house.) As teens, they once had a game of one-on-one that got so heated that it came to a 20-minute standstill when both refused to get the basketball after it rolled to the other end of the gym.The "adventures of Brad and Sue" soon commenced -- except for a brief hurdle when they were 4 or 5 years old: Barnett was so startled to see his usually jeans-clad, short-haired buddy wearing a dress for the first time that he burst into tears. Bird finally retrieved it with a flourish of profanity on her way out the door. ' And he says, 'Suzy, you looked like you were going to bite her.' "He said then she was going to be something special."Of course, I have a whole journey -- everybody does in life. I don't like to be, not necessarily 'gossiped' about but the topic of conversations." Bird knows people might assume that her relationship with Rapinoe, who has long been involved in LGBTQ activism, is what prompted her to speak out now. "This actually has nothing to do with Megan, in terms of how free I feel to talk about it," Bird says. I chickened out." She later overheard a reporter talking to one of her Olympic teammates, Elena Delle Donne, about having recently come out. And Bird is pleased that the WNBA has in recent years embraced LGBTQ pride as an initiative and reached out to LGBTQ fans -- something the league didn't do in Bird's early years as a pro."This has been something I've been on the verge of doing for a long time." Last summer, before she really knew Rapinoe, Bird filled out a questionnaire that was to run in a magazine before the 2016 Rio Games: "25 things you don't know about Olympians." "I literally had at No. The casualness of their conversation struck Bird because it sounded so ordinary, in a comforting way. "The players have influenced that a ton, especially the younger ones," Bird says.

As former teammate Swin Cash says, "Sue and 'controversy' never mixed.

"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.

I could probably work on that a little," says Seattle Reign and U. national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who has been dating Bird since last fall. She has been out to her family and friends for many years -- telling them soon after her pro career began in Seattle after she was the WNBA's No. That was never the case for me." So why talk about it now?

1 pick in 2002 out of UConn -- but she hadn't publicly confirmed it before. "It's happening when it's happening because that's what feels right," Bird says. women's soccer team and the Seattle Reign, and Sue Bird have been dating since last fall.

"I just never felt that calling, if that's the right word.

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