Sports Digest: WNBA star Sue Bird says 2022 will be her last season

BASKETBALL

Seattle Storm star and five-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird announced Thursday that the 2022 season will be her last playing in the WNBA.

Bird’s announcement ended all speculation about her future, although she acknowledged in February, when she re-signed with Seattle, that this would likely be her last season. She strongly considered retiring after last season before choosing to return for a 19th season as a player.

Bird is a four-time WNBA champion, 12-time All-Star and the league’s oldest player at 41. She has spent her entire WNBA career with Seattle since becoming the No. 1 pick in 2002 after her college career at Connecticut. .

This season is his 21st with the franchise, although only his 19th after missing two seasons due to injury. She is the league’s all-time leader in assists and the standard by which other point guards are judged.

Bird’s announcement came a day before Seattle’s game at Connecticut. The Storm will end its journey in New York on Sunday, about 30 miles from where Bird grew up in Syosset, New York.

EUROLIGUE: Russian basketball clubs have been suspended from the next EuroLeague season.

EuroLeague organizers cited “restrictions and bans on air travel or other limitations on issuing visas to Russian residents” during the country’s war with Ukraine.

The 18-team league had three Russian entrants last season – CSKA Moscow with a long-term license and one-year entries for UNICS Kazan and Zenit St. Petersburg. Their results were overturned after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

MEN’S WORLD CUP: USA Basketball is taking some veterans into the upcoming World Cup qualifying window.

A roster of 12 players has been released for the next two matches, scheduled for July 1 in Puerto Rico and July 4 in Cuba. The Americans are 3-1 in qualifying and have already clinched a spot in the second round.

But these next two games remain important as the records of the 16-team first qualifying round will continue in the second round. There will be 12 teams from the Americas region participating in the second round; among them, seven will eventually qualify for the 2023 Basketball World Cup.

Jim Boylen will coach the Americans again in qualifying, beginning with a training camp that begins in Miami later this month. His roster for these two games: Jordan Bell, Quinn Cook, Cody Demps, Michael Frazier, Langston Galloway, Justin Jackson, DaQuan Jeffries, John Jenkins, George King, Eric Mika, David Stockton and Noah Vonleh.

Bell, Galloway, King and Stockton were part of the USA team that went 2-0 in the last qualifying window in February.

TENNIS

VENETIA OPEN: Fourth-seeded Claire Liu was upset by Tatjana Maria 7-6(3), 6-7(3), 6-3 in the second round in Baiba, Italy.

Maria will next face sixth-seeded Diane Parry in the quarter-finals. The French beat Joanne Zuger 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

QUEEN’S CLUB: Defending champion Matteo Berrettini stayed on course for back-to-back titles on grass as he recovered from a set down to beat lucky loser Denis Kudla and reach the quarter-finals in London.

Berrettini won 3-6, 7-5 (5), 6-4 and will be one of only two seeds in the quarterfinals.

SOCCER

BARCELONA: Dani Alves is leaving Barcelona for the second time, five months after the veteran Brazilian right-back returned to the Spanish club he helped win 23 titles.

Alves, 39, played for Barcelona from 2008 to 2016, winning the Champions League three times and six Spanish leagues among other trophies. He began a second stint at Barcelona in January as a free agent on a contract that expired in the summer.

Alves scored one goal in 17 appearances last season, which Barcelona ended without a title. He finished his Barcelona career with 408 appearances in total, the second for a non-Spanish behind Lionel Messi.

“I would like to thank all the coaching staff for the opportunity they gave me to give something back to this club and to wear this wonderful shirt again,” Alves wrote on Instagram. “I hope you won’t miss my madness and my daily dose of happiness too much.”

Alves also played for Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Sevilla. He did not specify what his future plans are. He said he hoped to make Brazil’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

BODYBUILDING

TO FORBID: The former Olympic official who led the sport of weightlifting for more than 40 years has been banned for life for covering up doping cases.

Tamas Ajan of Hungary was found guilty of charges of tampering, fraudulent conduct and complicity in covering up years of doping cases, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has heard.

The case came after allegations aired by German network ARD in January 2020 were verified by anti-doping investigator Richard McLaren.

McLaren was appointed by the International Weightlifting Federation when Ajan was forced to step down after 20 years as president. He was Secretary General for the previous 24 years.


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