Storm PG Sue Bird played in her first game with Spartak Moscow today, a road matchup in Hungary that originally had to be postponed due to the November death of Russian team owner Shabtai von Kalmanovic (pictured left by AP). The circumstances made it emotional for Bird to return.
“I’m sure he had his hand in many ventures and obviously somebody wanted him dead,” said Bird of von Kalmanovic, who was a former KGB spy. “I don’t know that part though.. That wasn’t the part of his life that I was privy to and I can’t comment.
“I’ve never felt endangered there.”
Spartak defeated Szeviep 77-58. Bird finished with seven points, four assists, and three steals while the WNBA’s reigning MVP Diana Taurasi led with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Bird played a short stint with USA basketball following the Storm’s first-round postseason exit in September, but missed three regular-season games due to a sore neck and largely rested this offseason. In a phone interview, she said it’s an injury that will heal on its own, but sometimes still wakes with a stiff neck.
Now, only C Ashley Robinson isn’t overseas playing. An unrestricted free agent, Robinson remains in Texas. The Storm is thinking about having her return to Seattle to help promote the team until training camp opens in April.