WNBA star Sue Bird revealed for the first time publicly that she is gay in an interview with espnW published Thursday.
Bird, who grew up in Syosset, said she has been dating U.S. national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe since the fall, according to espnW.
“I’m gay. Megan’s my girlfriend. . . . These aren’t secrets to people who know me,” Bird told espnW. “I don’t feel like I’ve not lived my life. I think people have this assumption that if you’re not talking about it, you must be hiding it, like it’s this secret. That was never the case for me.”
Bird, 36, said she decided to come out publicly now because she felt the time was right.
“It’s happening when it’s happening because that’s what feels right,” Bird told espnW. “So even though I understand there are people who think I should have done it sooner, it wasn’t right for me at the time. I have to be true to that. It’s my journey.”
Bird, who attended Syosset High School as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Christ the King in Queens, told espnW that she realized she was gay while at the University of Connecticut, where she won two national championships and was national player of the year in 2002.
Bird said she thought about coming out publicly last summer when filling out a questionnaire for a magazine before the Rio Olympics and after overhearing U.S. teammate Elena Delle Donne, who had come out publicly before the Olympics, speaking with a reporter.
“I almost said, ‘Yeah, it’s no big deal. I’m gay, who cares?’ ” Bird told espnW. “There’s another moment it was right there, but I didn’t say anything.”
According to espnW, Bird and Rapinoe met at the Rio Olympics. Both were playing for the United States in their respective sports.
Bird is a point guard with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and Rapinoe, who came out in 2012, plays for the Seattle Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Bird, who has won two WNBA titles with the Storm and four Olympic gold medal, will play in Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game in Seattle, her 10th All-Star selection.