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13 Январь 2012
"Bird" in a "fox's" skin
Since the moment Sue Bird has started her career in Russia, she got all fan’s eyes on her. Seasons have been going, the teams have been changing, but her play stays awesome. Her titles talk for themself - Olympic Champion (2004, 2008), World Champion (2010), Euroleague Champion (2007-2010), WNBA Champion (2004, 2010).
 
After her first game with UMMC, Sue agreed to give an interview for the special correspondent of informational site about women’s basketball in which she has confessed that her desire is to pursue a spy career, would pick her friends in the dream team and would change the ball to sledge if it is necessary.

- Is it difficult to keep the femininity in such a tough sport? 

 - No, I think everybody has their own style, their own sense of the way they dress, how they act, and doesn’t matter what you do for a living. You are who you are. 

- Who do you think is the best player from a Russian team you have ever played against (or with)? 

 - You know, the Russian National team is really talented, it is hard to pick one. I'll give you a hint. The person who sent this question had in mind the definite person. 

I think Maria Stepanova, Masha Stepanova. Her size, and the things that she does, there are not many players in the world like her. It’s not to say the other players are not just as talented but she’s definitely different. But they waited for me to say Becky Hammon, I guess?

 - Yes. 
 
- Could you rank the best five basketball players in your opinion and which would be your "dream team”? 

 - In the world? All the players? 

 - Yes.

 - You know, I’m very biased, because obviously Diana, Lauren  are gonna be number one and number two on my list. Not only are they great players but also two of my closest friends, so I have to say them. After that, you know it’s hard. You have players like Candace Parker, Lisa Leslie, Tina Thopson, Tamika Catchings… 

 - Only five!! 

- I know, I can’t pick five. If I had to, I guess Lauren, Candace, Diana, Tamika Cathings and you can pick a point-guard. 
 
- Do you think that signing a contract with UMMC after Sparta is like a transfer from "Fenerbahce" to "Galatasaray", and that the Sparta’s fans will not understand the move and UMMC’s fans will not accept you in the team? 

 - Oh, I haven’t thought that far. In European basketball players move all the time. It’s about finding your place and Sparta would be a good place for you personally. It has a good situation. I will forever cherish my time in Sparta. In a way that will always be a place I consider home. I’m very comfortable there with all those people who did so much for me. Sometimes, it’s time to make a change, like many players, I’m not the only who ever do it, It’s just the way European basketball goes, so I hope nobody feels bad about it. 

- I can explain. I’m a representative of Internet site of basketball fans, and there are Sparta fans who had said "She is the best” before they knew about your move, but after that… 

- "She is the worst”. That’s ok, I understand. 

- And I’ve heard how UMMC fans said "We will not accept her”. But, they were Pondexter fans. 

- Yeah, I’ve understand that. Everyone is allowed their own opinion and that’s ok. 
  
- Your fans, including myself, think that you are an awesome player and sympathetic person, and we can’t fault you as a player and as a person. So please tell me do you think there is anything wrong about you? 

- Of course! But as a basketball player you job is to hide those things as well as you can. So that’s what I try to do. You have to hide your weaknesses. Tonight I had a lot turnovers. That’s bad. 

- Researches shows that the possibility of invisibility becoming a reality is a question of time. How would you use the power of invisibility if you could become invisible? Perhaps this is just what you need to keep your privacy? 

- If I was invisible I’d probably just go and eavesdrop and listen to other people’s conversations, may be go to the other team’s locker room. 

- Gossips? 

- Not gossips, just listen so that I could know everything. 

- Just a spy. 

- Yeah, I’d be a spy. 
  
- What do you think about the fact that the man of the Year voted by the «Times» is just an ordinary man who makes a protest? 

- I think that a peaceful (and that’s the key word) protest is something that’s very important to our society and anytime you can make a difference peacefully and a group of people who come together for the greater good…I’m all for that. Assuming it’s a good cause and the right cause. And I know, the people who occupied Wall-street, they are very passionate about what they believe in. And if it’s peaceful I think it’s a great thing. 

- Do you support the Republicans or the Democrats and why? 

- I’m really not that into politics, I watch CNN occasionally. If I had to choose I would say I’m a democrat, I’m just a very liberal person and there are certain beliefs that I relate to more in the democratic party. 

- If you were invited to take part at the Winter Olympics in Sochi instead of the Summer Olympics in London what kind of sport would you choose? Maybe curling? Or bob? 

- Friend of mine, somebody who I work with now, he was a gold medalist with the US bobsleigh team, so I think I have to ask him to teach me and try to do my best cool running in Russia.

- It’s a tradition for UMMC’s players to ski and to swim in the ice holes on the river. 

- I don’t believe you! 

- Are you ready to take part in this tradition? 

- Maybe, I’ll think about it. 
 
- Where is the border between your private life and sport? 

- I don’t know, in a way basketball is a kind of a job. So everybody who has a job they do certain things at work and when they go home it’s a different place. 

- When u went home for Christmas holidays you kept training, so it’s your private time, but you were still working? 

- Eh, well, working out by yourself…I don’t even know how to answer this question. It’s my free time so I like to stay in shape. It feels good. 
 I don’t know, I’m not an athlete.  Yes, you have to stay in shape, you don’t want to be tired. So in order not to be tired when you come back to play you have to keep playing, keep running, keep training. 

- It is known to the public that professional athletes don’t have the "luxury” to enjoy the simple things in life such as eating a cake, spending good time with friends because of their busy and strict schedule. Would you say that’s your life, or it is just a preparation? 

- It’s a funny question. As an athlete there are certain things, for a female basketball player when you play in Europe…of course! I’m away from home, I don’t get to see my family or friends. Maybe I miss birthdays and holidays, but that’s my job and it’s ok, because there’s always another side: I get to experience another culture, live in another country and make friends that I’ probably would’ve never made. So there are always two sides to things…Anybody could complain about their job but you have to do what makes you happy and this is what makes me happy and I enjoy it and it really doesn’t affect any other part of my life, it only makes it better.

Photo: Pavel Zubkov
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