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'Trump criticism was surreal' -- Sue Bird remembers when Donald Trump targeted girlfriend Megan Rapinoe

WNBA star Sue Bird talks to Don Riddell about her position in women's sport, her partner Megan Rapinoe and the fallout from Rapinoe speaking out about Donald Trump.

Posted: Feb 11, 2020 1:20 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2020 1:20 PM

It's not every day you wake up to the president of the United States criticizing your girlfriend.

In fact, in that respect, basketball star Sue Bird may be in a league of her own.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist still remembers that rather "surreal" morning when President Donald Trump went on a Twitter rant about her partner Megan Rapinoe.

The pair had been in an ongoing feud since the soccer star spoke out about not wanting to visit the White House if the USWNT win the 2019 Women's World Cup, a claim which seemed to politicize the otherwise seamless tournament in France last year.

However, Bird says the public spat barely affected Rapinoe, evidenced by the fact that she went on to lift the World Cup just days later. She did, though, admit the whole situation took some getting used to.

"I think we both woke up, looked at it and was like, 'Is this really happening?'" Bird told CNN Sport's Don Riddell.

"After that, oddly enough, it presented this opportunity for Megan.

"I think not a lot of people talk about her ability to kind of take the heat from the president and be able to clap back, if you will, and then still perform.

"As an athlete, that's incredibly difficult. She took that on, she took that pressure and still was able to perform."

The pair had been concerned for their safety, aware that many will have sided with Trump, but that didn't stop Bird penning a letter in the Player's Tribune which was perfectly titled "So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend."

READ: Megan Rapinoe's epic 2019

Power couple

Couples simply don't come more powerful than Bird and Rapinoe.

Both have reached the very top of their respective sports and both have used their lofty platforms to call for equality in sport and in wider society.

Bird, in particular, has been a trailblazer in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and has been influential in its rise in popularity and investment.

She has also been a colossus on the court, winning three WNBA titles (2004, 2010, 2018) with Seattle Storm in addition to her bumper Olympic haul.

"You want to leave a mark, you want to leave a legacy and I've kind of held onto that," the 39-year-old said, reflecting back on her career to date.

"Especially in the last couple of years, I've really tried to do my part to make sure I leave the game in a better place."

READ: WNBA star Diana Taurasi credits Kobe Bryant for helping grow women's basketball

READ: USWNT and US soccer fight for moral high ground on equal pay battle

'I've learned so much'

Living alongside Rapinoe, herself a pioneer in women's soccer, has certainly had an influence on Bird.

The pair are both unapologetic in their ambition and want to use their own success to pull others up behind them.

It's a relationship that seems to have got the best out of both and Bird is excited for what the future holds.

"I've learned so much from Megan. Just watching her, how she carries herself, how she believes in certain things and sticks to it, never wavers, and there is a confidence that is required for that," she says.

"Who better to share ideas with, compare ideas with, poke holes in each other's ideas?

"I mean, it's really nice to just sit down and have someone to talk to that is going through the exact same things. More than anything I'm just incredibly proud of her."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 145636

Reported Deaths: 3745
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto973199
Hinds9668197
Harrison6898109
Jackson6178119
Rankin5319100
Lee487695
Madison4666106
Forrest371386
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Lauderdale3355144
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Washington3122107
Lamar283449
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Lowndes229763
Neshoba2177115
Panola215849
Marshall209650
Leflore201490
Pontotoc196128
Monroe191477
Sunflower190555
Lincoln186865
Warren172657
Tate165451
Union163925
Pike160658
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Yazoo152039
Scott150729
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Simpson145153
Prentiss141230
Adams137949
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Leake131943
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Tippah123030
George122324
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Marion111646
Attala109833
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Chickasaw104132
Newton103629
Tallahatchie96327
Clarke88853
Clay87127
Jasper81222
Walthall75328
Stone73114
Calhoun72913
Montgomery72125
Carroll70614
Lawrence70314
Yalobusha70027
Noxubee69717
Smith69616
Perry65426
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57616
Jefferson Davis55017
Humphreys52918
Amite51814
Benton48717
Quitman4816
Webster42114
Kemper41918
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34211
Franklin3265
Choctaw3117
Sharkey30717
Issaquena1124
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 239318

Reported Deaths: 3532
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31391491
Mobile19562361
Tuscaloosa12813154
Madison12741146
Montgomery12198235
Shelby1000577
Baldwin847398
Lee764466
Morgan634348
Calhoun6112115
Marshall607954
Etowah606565
Houston517038
DeKalb474736
Cullman428038
Limestone413744
St. Clair409055
Elmore400762
Lauderdale393653
Walker3588108
Talladega343453
Jackson307624
Colbert301941
Blount285539
Autauga268641
Franklin247833
Coffee239715
Dale230354
Dallas224531
Russell22053
Chilton219638
Covington216833
Escambia197431
Chambers173749
Tallapoosa173391
Pike157514
Clarke156319
Marion136535
Winston129923
Lawrence124836
Geneva12028
Pickens119418
Marengo119124
Barbour117010
Bibb116217
Butler114441
Randolph100921
Cherokee100824
Hale94531
Clay90223
Washington90219
Fayette87316
Henry8496
Lowndes79129
Monroe78111
Cleburne75714
Macon72321
Crenshaw70730
Bullock69119
Conecuh68314
Perry6756
Lamar6508
Wilcox63118
Sumter57122
Choctaw41913
Greene41418
Coosa3374
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