It seems the voters are more impressed by longevity than they are with immediacy.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll involved Seattle sports’ power couple, Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe. Bird, the legendary point guard for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, and Rapinoe, the forward who makes things happen for the Seattle Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League, are a couple who share a condominium on Queen Anne Hill near downtown Seattle.
Which means there’s no shortage of star power underneath a single roof. In Bird you have one of the best basketball players in U.S. history, and in Rapinoe you have one of the best soccer players in U.S. history.
Which one is the bigger icon? That was the subject of this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll, which asked readers to weigh in on which of the two is the greater Seattle-based sports star. Here’s how you voted:
POLL: Which member of Seattle’s sports power couple, @ReignFC’s Megan Rapinoe and the @seattlestorm’s Sue Bird, has been the greater icon in her sport? Full context, including a rundown of each’s honors and accomplishments, here: https://t.co/xrgi801XS5
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) July 8, 2019
Add the two together and the voters overwhelmingly chose Bird over Rapinoe by a 78-22 percent margin.
This result makes a certain amount of sense. Bird has been a part of the national sports consciousness for a longer period of time, and her list of accomplishments — four Olympic gold medals, four World Championships gold medals, three WNBA titles with the Storm — is longer than Rapinoe’s also impressive list, which includes two Women’s World Cups and one Olympic gold medal.
But has Bird ever reached the heights Rapinoe is at now? Rapinoe just won the Women’s World Cup with the U.S. national women’s soccer team. She also won both the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer and the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. In essence, Rapinoe was just declared the best women’s soccer player in the world. As good as Bird has been for such a long time, I don’t know that she’s ever been considered the world’s best player. And from a cultural standpoint, Rapinoe is having the type of relevance rarely seen from a female athlete in this country.
But from purely a sporting standpoint, it’s hard to argue with what Bird has done over the course of two decades, from leading two national championship teams in college at the University of Connecticut, to being an 11-time WNBA all-star. Rapinoe is undoubtedly having a special moment, but Bird’s longevity of excellence is nearly unmatched.
However, whichever direction one chooses, there’s no wrong answer. Both Bird and Rapinoe have been amazing athletes, and Seattle is fortunate to have both.