Sue Bird is thrilled for a chance to show off Seattle.
The Emerald City will host the WNBA All-Star Game next year for the first time, the league announced Wednesday.
“I’m really excited as a player who’s been here her whole career,” Bird said in a phone interview. “Really excited for the fans and for the city. This is a franchise that’s seen it all: No. 1 picks, championships, missed playoff runs, disappointing playoff runs. It’s time to see an All-Star Game.”
The game will take place on July 22.
“Historically, the All-Star Game has highlighted the absolute best in our world-class players — from Lisa Leslie’s dunk, to Shoni Schimmel’s otherworldly performance as a rookie, to the record-setting scoring efforts of Candace Parker in 2013 and Maya Moore in 2015 — and this time should only bring more excitement and moments for all to enjoy,” WNBA president Lisa Borders said.
The league didn’t have an All-Star Game last season because of the Olympics. The midseason showcase has been held out west only twice, both times in Phoenix, most recently in 2014.
The 2015 All-Star Game was held in Connecticut. The West beat the East 117-112 as Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx scored a game-record 30 points.
“I think Seattle is a sports town,” Bird said. “Yes, we could talk about women’s basketball with the Pac-12 tournament and what the Storm has done. It extends to all sports. This is a city that loves sports and deserving of the All-Star Game.”
Said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray: “Seattle is a basketball town, home to the two-time WNBA champion Seattle Storm and last year’s University of Washington women’s Final Four team. We are proud of this tradition and we will look forward to celebrating the WNBA in Seattle next summer.”
While the league didn’t say whether there would be additions like a 3-point shootout or other events, Bird was in favor of adding more to the weekend than just the game.
“I would love for the 3-point contest to come back,” the veteran guard said.
The WNBA will begin its 21st season on May 13 with three games.