Storm rookie Breanna Stewart joined Bird in the studio, the topic dominated by the duo winning Olympic gold in women's basketball at the 2016 Rio Games. Bird has won four Olympic gold medals overall while the USA basketball women's national team has won six straight.
Storm star Sue Bird on Thursday returned to KJR-AM 950 for the first time since 2003 when a bet between her and morning host Mitch Levy, which included the possibility of Bird being spanked, caused a national debate.
“I will always contend, ‘mountain out of a mole hill,’ ” Levy said Thursday morning of the uproar. He also stated multiple times Bird’s return was due to the show’s co-host Dick Fain, the longtime voice of the Storm.
Storm rookie Breanna Stewart joined Bird in the studio, the topic dominated by the duo winning Olympic gold in women’s basketball at the 2016 Rio Games. Bird has won four Olympic gold medals overall while the USA basketball women’s national team has won six straight.
“If you took us out of the tournament, that would have been a really good tournament,” Bird joked with Levy when the feat was reduced to expected dominance.
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Levy barely mentioned Bird’s last visit to the station 13 years ago. His not knowing Jenny Boucek now coaches the Storm opened a brief discussion.
“Maybe if you came to games, we’d win. Are we gonna go down this (road)?” Bird quipped when questioned why a team with two Olympians is 9-15 and tied for the eighth and final spot in the WNBA playoff race.
Seattle resumes its season Friday against league-leading Los Angeles (21-3) at KeyArena.
In 2003, Levy, a longtime adversary of the WNBA, said he’d purchase Storm season tickets if Bird, then in her second year, had a three-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio at the end of the season. If two-to-one, Levy still had to buy the tickets, but could be cheaper ones and he gets to spank Bird. If lower than two-to-one, Bird must say “Harder, Daddy, Harder” during the spanking.
“It’s terrible…it helps feed into the images of violence against women and stereotyping,” said then-State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles of the bet in 2003. She taught women’s studies at the University of Washington. “I don’t condemn (Sue). I appreciate that she doesn’t have the experience in life that other women have had. But this could be very hurtful. Not just to the WNBA, but to other women and girls.”
The bet was swiftly called off reportedly by Bird after negative publicity. However, at a later date, Tyler Orsborn (morning show producer at the time) suggested that Storm management were the real reason the bet was called off and not Bird.
“As genuine as my intentions were, I realize the negative effect that this bet has had and would like to apologize,” Bird said in a released statement.
Bird had a 2.01 assist-to-turnover ratio in 2003 when she averaged a career-high 6.5 assists per game. In 2010, the Storm’s championship season where it went undefeated (17-0) at home and legend Lauren Jackson won her third league Most Valuable Player award, Bird had a 3.17 ratio. She committed a career-low 60 turnovers in 33 regular season games.
On Thursday, Levy told Bird he didn’t lose the bet. However, he waited until after the segment concluded to comment on-air about Bird not offering to pay up.
“What is it with people that make wagers with the morning show that have trouble seeing it through?” Levy said.