Right before her senior season at UCLA, Jordin Canada was seeking advice on how to be a better point guard. Who better to turn to than Sue Bird?
The two got in touch and had a long phone conversation where Bird imparted some of her wisdom to Canada. Fast-forward eight months, and Bird is still offering advice to Canada, now as a teammate with the Storm after Seattle drafted her with the fifth pick in April.
“It’s an honor being able to learn from the best,” Canada said. “It’s great for me. I see her in practice and games and what she does, her confidence, the way she leads. It’s unbelievable to experience that first-hand.”
Bird remembers the conversation last year with Canada and was flattered that the young guard reached out.
“It’s a huge compliment when that happens,” Bird said. “They are doing it for a reason. I didn’t know Jordin personally, but had seen her play a few times.”
Now Bird has gotten the chance to see Canada up close for the last month.
“Speed is what sticks out right away,” Bird said of her young protege. “It’s one thing to see it on TV, but when you’re experiencing it in person, it’s incredible. It’s not just the speed though, it’s her ability to break defenses down. It’s very important to have someone who can do that.”
Canada was one of the top point guards in college last year, and learning from a future Hall of Famer and the league’s all-time assist leader has been great.
“I feel like I’m learning a lot from her in practices and shootarounds,” Canada said. “She is always talking to me in games making sure I understand different terminology.”
She got her first start for the Storm against Dallas on Saturday as Bird rested. The rookie had nine points, nine assists and five steals in a loss. Bird was constantly in her ear that game.
“Once this franchise started to rebuild a couple years ago, I always felt like this is my opportunity to help them and pass down as much knowledge as I can,” Bird said. “Prep them to take over and take this franchise and keep it going. That vibe has trickled on to Jordin.”
One thing that has stuck with Bird was that after they chatted, Canada wrote her a thank you note for talking to her. A rare sweet gesture in this day of texts and tweets.
“It was very touching she took the time to recognize that to thank me,” Bird said. “She didn’t have to do that.”
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