Sue Bird simply loves playing in Seattle

Sue Bird simply loves playing in Seattle
Seattle Storm's Sue Bird reacts to a call on her against the Phoenix Mercury during the second half of the decisive Game 3 in a first-round WNBA playoff basketball series, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, in Seattle. The Mercury won 77-75. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
ISTANBUL (AP) - A long way from the Pacific Northwest, Sue Bird learned that one of the mainstays of Seattle sports was gone.

Ichiro Suzuki, who had been in Seattle since Bird arrived in 2002, was traded from the Mariners to the New York Yankees on Monday. That leaves Bird as the second-longest tenured athlete in the city behind Storm teammate Lauren Jackson.

"That's pretty crazy, I never would have thought to check that out," Bird said. "I actually really love that. I love that I've been in the same place, developed a relationship with the community and the fans and the ownership. It's a place I want to be. I feel like they're loyal to me and I'm loyal to them. It's a very comfortable situation."

Jackson, who missed the first half of the WNBA season to train with Australia for the Olympics, arrived in Seattle a year earlier than Bird. Bird has been a free agent twice, including this past offseason. She's never seriously thought about leaving Seattle.

"In the long run, being the longest-tenured athlete doesn't mean anything to a lot of people, but to me it represents loyalty," Bird said.

Since Bird's arrival as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2002, the Storm have missed the postseason only once in 2003 and have won WNBA titles in 2004 and 2010.

During that period, the Seahawks have made the playoffs six times, advancing to the Super Bowl once. The Mariners have yet to make the postseason.