How did a lady from Syosset, New York who as soon as referred to as soccer her past love change into some of the profitable basketball gamers on the planet?
Sue Chook has gained on all ranges, and the Seattle Storm Level Guard added an already overcrowded trophy case 10 days in the past with their fourth WNBA championship.
However at the moment Chook hits one other milestone: it is her 40th birthday.
From profitable state titles at Christ The King and two NCAA crowns at UConn to conquering 4 WNBA titles and 4 Olympic gold medals, Chook has celebrated championships across the globe.
And whereas the all-time WNBA assistant was yelled at by LeBron James when he additionally gained a fourth title in his 17th season, her legacy extends from the place. Chook helped finalize a historic collective settlement final January and spearheaded social justice points within the WNBA bubble final season.
We glance again on the legend of Sue Chook.
The way it began
Lengthy Island’s Suzanne Brigit Chook had little thought how far she would go on a basketball courtroom. Child Chook performed AAU ball – proven right here at a nationwide championship for women below 11 years outdated in 1992, simply three years earlier than the UConn ladies would win their first nationwide championship.
Chook has at all times been a constant and constant participant on the pitch, however like Seattle teammate Breanna Stewart, she is normally very profitable when the sport is at stake.
Simply days earlier than Chook and the Storm beat the Las Vegas Aces within the WNBA ultimate on October 6, UConn coach Geno Auriemma mentioned nobody was higher ready.
“Sue has been coaching for these moments on daily basis since she was a rookie,” Auriemma mentioned throughout a media name from Zoom. “Some individuals do not have the stamina to do that. They do not have the self-discipline to do that.”
Assist the huskies return to the highest
Chook’s freshman season at UConn was interrupted by an ACL tear and suffered simply eight video games in 1998-99. However she made an impression when she returned to courtroom. Chook averaged 10.9 factors and 4.three assists of their sophomore 12 months, which helped the Huskies win the NCAA title 36-1. As of late the huskies are synonymous with good seasons and three varieties of peat, however at that time it was solely the second nationwide championship for UConn.
Linked: Timeless Seattle star Sue Chook is the consummate champion
On the time, nothing was greater in ladies’s faculty basketball than the rivalry between UConn and Tennessee, and so they met thrice that season. Of their first recreation within the collection, Chook scored 25 factors in 8v10 when the Huskies gained a January 2000 meet in Knoxville, Tennessee. A month later, the Girl Vols repaid the favor and ruined what had been an ideal season with a 1-point win in Storrs, Connecticut. However UConn acquired the final chuckle of the season, beating Tennessee calmly within the finals in Philadelphia, Auriemma’s hometown.
“I feel the collection helped me set up my identification as a participant,” Chook informed ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel final 12 months. “As somebody who will hopefully make their teammates higher and get massive video games and large hits if obligatory.”
The most effective NCAA championship staff ever?
Now we see the daybreak of the subsequent dynasty in ladies’s faculty basketball. The 2001-02 UConn staff, which featured Chook and three different seniors (Swin Money, Asjha Jones, and Tamika Williams), is broadly thought-about to be the perfect within the historical past of ladies’s faculty basketball. The Huskies took the lead 39-Zero and beat their opponents by a median of 35.4, with only a single-digit win.
Chook, with the then sophomore Diana Taurasi subsequent to her on the UConn again seat, scored a median of 14.Four factors and 5.9 assists and was the consensus nationwide participant of the 12 months, who gained the Wade Trophy and the Naismith Award. The hen proven beneath, celebrating with Auriemma throughout a Victory Parade by Hartford, Connecticut, gained 114-Four on UConn.
Lower than three weeks later, Chook was no 1 on the WNBA draft – and Money, Jones, and Williams had been additionally picked inside the first six picks of the primary spherical.
Beneath the management of Taurasi, the Huskies gained three consecutive titles (2002-04) for less than the second three-peat within the historical past of ladies’s faculty basketball.
Famend pack of level guards
It did not take the remainder of the nation lengthy to equate Chook with level guard royalty within the skilled ranks. Throughout the 2003 NBA All-Star Weekend, Chook lined up alongside Seattle Sonics’ Gary Payton, New Jersey Nets’ Jason Kidd, Phoenix Solar’s Stephon Marbury, and San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker earlier than the Expertise Problem.
Chook is a suspension – and possibly the primary selection – to hitch The Glove and J-Kidd within the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame when she retires.
The Greek squad
The 2004 WNBA common season was suspended in August of that 12 months when the Athens Olympics had been held. Lisa Leslie, Daybreak Staley and Sheryl Swoopes ran Staff USA when children like Chook, Taurasi, Money and Tamika Catchings made their Olympic debuts. Chook was an understudy when Staley completed her profession as a US basketball participant and got here off the bench in seven out of eight video games when the People gained their third consecutive gold medal.
Nevertheless it laid the inspiration for the long run. The torch was handed over, and by 2008 Chook was an everyday starter for the Olympic staff, including gold medals on the Beijing 2008 Video games, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Video games.
Chook is 142-6 all time when he competes for Staff USA.
Do it twice
A month and a half after profitable gold, Chook and the Storm introduced a title again to Seattle for the primary time because the 1979 Sonics Championship.
The Storm’s first title was a number of years within the making. In 2001, Seattle designed Australian Publish Workplace Lauren Jackson (with the trophy on the backside of Chook) with the #1. Chook arrived in 2002. And coach Anne Donovan took over in 2003.
The storm went 18-16 in Donovan’s first season. In 2004, Seattle added the Betty Lennox rifle station with the sixth selection within the Scatter Draft after the Cleveland Rockers franchise broke up, and every thing slowly got here collectively because the season progressed.
Seattle truly completed second within the Western Convention behind the Los Angeles Sparks and hobbled into the playoffs after dropping six of their final 9 common season video games when the league resumed after the Olympic break. The Storm defeated Minnesota within the best-of-three semifinals of the Western Convention, however issues acquired more durable from then on. Although Seattle misplaced the opening recreation to Sacramento in additional time to the Western Convention ultimate, it rallied to advance to the WNBA ultimate, the place it misplaced the opening recreation once more however then gained twice to beat the Connecticut Solar.
Donovan was the primary feminine coach to win a WNBA title. Vogel averaged 12.9 factors and 5.Four templates.
One world away
Chook started taking part in abroad in Russia within the 2004 WNBA low season. After two seasons at Dynamo Moscow, she signed with Spartak Moscow. Owned by former Soviet Union spy Shabtai von Kalmanovic, the gamers lived luxurious lives on salaries properly above what they’d paid to play within the WNBA. The squads had been simply as elaborate, whilst within the Dream Staff, when gamers like Lauren Jackson, Taurasi, Tina Thompson and Chook (backside left with von Kalmanovic within the center) teamed as much as win the Russian Tremendous League and EuroLeague titles .
In 2011, Chook moved to UMMC Ekaterinburg, the place they added three extra titles in a row within the Russian league.
Seattle misplaced 5 consecutive years within the semifinals of the Western Convention after its title in 2004. However when the 2010 postseason hit, the storm did not lose a recreation.
First there was a 2-Zero win in opposition to the Los Angeles Sparks within the semifinals, adopted by a 2-Zero win in opposition to the Phoenix Mercury within the convention finals. Seattle added three extra direct wins over Atlanta within the WNBA finals to return to the highest of the WNBA.
Seattle’s Lauren Jackson additionally gained the common season and WNBA Finals MVP that season, however Chook additionally had her massive moments en path to the second championship in Seattle.
In Recreation 2 of the Western Convention ultimate, Seattle overcame a 19-point deficit and Chook had an help, a block, and a rebound, then hit a 24-foot jumper 2.Eight seconds forward for the win. And in Recreation 1 of the WNBA Finals, Birds 18-Ft was the winner of the sport with 2.6 seconds of play time.
In some of the iconic pictures in storm historical past, Chook jumped into Jackson’s arms in Atlanta’s residence sq. to have a good time the title.
Chook attributes a rigorous weight-reduction plan and train routine to their longevity. And though she needed to skip the 2013 and 2019 seasons after knee surgical procedure, she has a number of profession manufacturers.
On September 1, 2017, Chook turned the WNBA’s all-time assists chief, breaking Ticha Penicheiro’s model. Chook had 2,888 assists final season.
Chook ranks eighth within the WNBA for profession factors (6,262) and is the WNBA govt by way of profession begins (519; she by no means fell off the financial institution) and profession minutes (16,430).
She has appeared in 11 All-Star video games in a WNBA report and is primary in playoff appearances (14).
“Profession defining second”
In Recreation 5 of the 2018 WNBA semi-finals, the storm with the very best seeds was behind the Phoenix Mercury within the fourth quarter. Chook didn’t shoot properly, missed eight direct photographs at one level, and was 6-1 with three pointers in three intervals.
Enter Breanna Stewart. The common season MVP reminded Chook, “Sue, use your legs.” Chook, who wore a masks to guard the damaged nostril she’d sustained in a recreation simply two days earlier, knew Stewie was proper.
“Numerous the photographs I took that third quarter had been very brief,” mentioned Chook, who was 37 on the time. “I am glad Stewie jogged my memory.”
Linked: Sue Chook’s 5 most necessary moments: Masked exploits, recreation winners and monster quarters
Within the final six minutes of the sport, Chook scored 5 of 6 photographs and scored 14 of their 22 factors within the fourth quarter. So Seattle acquired a spot within the WNBA finals. Chook later referred to as it a “profession defining second”.
Seattle beat the Washington Mystics within the WNBA ultimate and Chook, who averaged the perfect 7.1 assists per recreation within the common season, was once more a champion. Stewart, the Finals MVP, wore the shirt up throughout the Storm’s championship parade.
The definition of an influence couple
Rapidly identify a cooler couple in sports activities. I did not suppose so.
Chook revealed that she was homosexual and relationship Megan Rapinoe, the star of US soccer and the Seattle authorities, in an ESPN story in 2017. Days later, Rapinoe was sitting in courtroom when the Seattle Storm hosted the WNBA All-Star Recreation. Since then, they’ve been the primary homosexual couple to pose in ESPN The Journal’s Physique Difficulty (2018), setting the bar for each their athletic dominance and dedication to social justice points.
In 2019, Chook cheered Rapinoe in France as she gained prime participant awards and led the U.S. ladies’s nationwide staff to the ladies’s world cup title. And that summer season, Rapinoe was dwelling with Chook within the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida.
However whether or not they demand Unity against racial injustice As hosts of the 2020 ESPYs with quarterback Russell Wilson from Seattle Seahawks or simply hanging out on the courtroom at NBA All-Star Weekend 2019 (beneath), they’re a world-class athletic energy couple whose recognition “Rapinoe-Chook 2020” T- has produced. Shirts.
Let Russ … Chook pay homage
Feminine athletes by no means want male athletes to justify them. However when a number one NFL MVP contestant reveals up within the Chook’s Storm jersey for his Sunday Night time soccer recreation and post-game press convention, it is properly value paying consideration.
And pay attention. Since Russell Wilson not solely wore Chook’s jersey backwards in order that her identify and quantity had been simply identifiable, the Seattle QB in contrast himself to Chook for doing so spoke a minute-long segment that NBC aired earlier than the sport calling for “Russ for MVP”.
The Seahawks had been 5 factors behind the Minnesota Vikings when Wilson orchestrated a 94-yard drive within the ultimate minute, 57 seconds, together with a 39-yard end in fourth and tenth place. Seattle gained on Wilson’s 6-yard landing go to DK Metcalf with 15 seconds of play.
When requested in regards to the game-winning drive, Wilson replied, “I really feel like Sue Chook within the clutch.”
The way it goes
In 2015, the Storm selected Notre Dame star Jewell Loyd with the No. 1 draft decide. The next 12 months, recent from 4 consecutive NCAA titles, Stewart turned the subsequent Seattle no 1.
However one thing necessary occurred at the moment: Though a free company was rising, Chook determined to remain on the sphere and signed a multi-year contract with the Storm in February 2016.
Now Seattle has gained two titles in three seasons and is more likely to be the preseason favourite in 2021.
Will there be extra champagne celebrations within the locker room in Chook’s future? Chook, who was restricted to 11 common season video games this season as a result of knee issues but additionally averaged the perfect 9.2 assists per recreation within the playoffs, is hoping to make it by calendar 12 months 2021, which additionally consists of her 18th match. WNBA would come with season and their fifth Olympics.
“The best way I really feel now after I get by my low season and might proceed to construct on it,” mentioned Chook after the Seattle title. “I do not perceive why I will not play subsequent summer season.”
That will be a present for all of us.