Oct 6, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) poses with the championship trophy after winning the 2020 WNBA Finals at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports | Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

When a legendary athlete like Sue Bird retires, the question is frequently asked: “What are they going to do with the rest of their lives that could possibly come close to the glory they’ve already achieved?”

For a few icons like Michael Jordan, Billie Jean King and Derek Jeter, they find their next challenge entering team ownership.

Now Bird is joining their ranks.

The all-time WNBA games-played leader is entering a new partnership with Force 10 Hoops, the ownership group of the Seattle Storm.

For two decades, Bird was the face of the Storm on the court, leading them to four WNBA Championships. Now she’s looking to replicate that success as a part-owner.

“As a player, I poured my heart into every game for the Seattle Storm, and now, as part of the ownership group, I am thrilled to continue contributing to the growth of the game,” Bird said in a press release. “Investing in women’s sports isn’t just about passion; it’s smart business. It’s about recognizing the immense talent, dedication, and market potential our league has always had.”

Bird had previously been a part investor with the NWSL’s Gotham FC in 2022. This marks her first entry into the business side of the sport she dominated.

As for the history of athletes-turned-owners, King has been the best at translating her greatness on the court to the front office. 

She and partner Ilana Kloss joined the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018. Over that time, LA has made the postseason every year, won 100 games four times, established the gold standard of MLB Pride Nights, and captured the 2020 World Series title.

Other legends have had a rougher go of it in the executive suite. Jordan’s tenure as part-owner of Charlotte’s NBA franchise was lackluster at best. His ownership was so mediocre that if it were a player, he would’ve punched it in the face at practice. His most memorable legacy was changing the team’s nickname from Bobcats to Hornets.

Similarly, Jeter’s time as Miami Marlins CEO lasted less than five years and is remembered more for his art criticism than his baseball acumen. His biggest move was transporting the team’s garish home run sculpture to a parking lot.

Such evidence indicates that if an organization wants to succeed with a Hall of Fame athlete in ownership, they should recruit from Team LGBTQ.

Now after signing former MVP Nneka Ogwumike and All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith over the offseason, the Storm is looking to make Bird’s first season as a co-owner as triumphant as her playing career.