New Victors

Megan & Sue
Last updated: July 8, 2021
New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.
New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.

Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe have defined greatness and longevity in their respective sports, but their legacy project goes far beyond their careers.

Inspiring the next generation is how New Victors are made. During a special sit-down, Sue and Megan discuss how sports changed them.

SUE: Where to begin?

MEGAN: The thing I always come back to is that female athletes grow up in this really unique environment, especially elite female athletes. Outside of experiences like mine on the national team and Sue's in the WNBA and in USA Basketball, elite women are rarely around other elite women within their profession. Usually, you're one of one, or a couple. For me, that was my permission structure all the time.

SUE: For me, it's a combination of that. You're surrounded by people who are also super competitive, maybe more aggressive, more ambitious. And the other side is all about me from a foundation standpoint—who I am, the things I care about, the values I have, how I approach situations, whatever it may be—sports groomed that in me. I learnt a way of life through it.

MEGAN: It translates to how you coexist in the world, how you deal with conflict and differences of opinion. Even beyond belonging together in a safe space, there's other people who are going through the same thing, and you get to the point where you're like, "Oh, I'm not crazy to feel this way". All of the issues around women's sports like underrepresentation, underinvestment—all of those things—and then you're around other people who are like, "No, that's what I'm feeling too, that's how I felt in this situation".

SUE: It's a shared experience.

New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.
New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.
New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.

"[Sport] creates that sense of community and belonging. And then it allows you to do something about it because you feel a support system around you ..."

– Megan Rapinoe

MEGAN: It creates that sense of community and belonging. And then it allows you to do something about it because you feel a system around you that's supporting you and feeling the same things as you. By bringing in each individual perspective and our different backgrounds, we can go back out into the world that wasn't really created for us, doesn't fit us and wasn't designed for us, and kind of barge our way into the space we deserve. For us, you can be white, Black, straight, gay, trans—all of these things. You can be really hyper-competitive, shy but really competitive, outgoing and not as competitive—there's all these examples of what you're allowed to be in the world, which is really freeing.

New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.

SUE: It allows you to show different sides of yourself. You get stretched a little, in a good way. You're pushed to your limits. That's where you find out who you are and what you're made of. Obviously in sports, it's the heat of the battle moment. You get to see where things are when adversity hits. And a lot of people are not comfortable going to those places. They like to stay in their comfort zone. We've all heard the term, "You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable"—and that's sports in a nutshell.

Through sports, Sue and Megan also found their voice and a platform to advocate for more representation, visibility and investment in women's sports.

New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.
New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.
New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.

MEGAN: You either do it and stand up for yourself, fight for yourself and your teammates, the general sports world at large and the next generation—or you don't. It doesn't really get better. I think my first soft understanding of that—I was pretty young, 23 or 24.

New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.

"I found my voice a little later in life. We were told different things, had different expectations—we were really undervalued. I think I internalised a lot of that. Not willingly, but it just kind of happened that way".

– Sue Bird

After being a visible power couple for a few years, they are already starting to see the fruits that grow from just being your true self.

SUE: Honestly, selfishly, it's healthy for us. As individuals, I think it's super healthy for us to be living our truth. It's a lot easier said than done in some ways to forge that path. So it is kind of selfish in that way. But then you see these by-products that kind of show up, and one of them is, not necessarily people looking up to us like a role model thing, but oh, somebody else did it. It's not as scary. A lot of things in life, people are intimidated by it just because you don't know enough. Or you haven't seen enough. Or not many people have done it. I mean, there's so many examples. So when two people are just living, it can give so many other people confidence to just really live their true life.

Director: Aimee Hoffman, @aimeekhoffman

Director: Basil Fauchier, @basilfauchier

Photographer: Sophia Wilson, @phiawilson

Photographer: Evie Lane, @evie__lane

"Shoutout to the OGs—because as much as they forged this path, they didn't get to live like this. I think it's part of our responsibility to continue clearing a path".

– Megan Rapinoe

New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.

MEGAN: We're really happy and excited, and we want to show that to people—especially younger people. The amount of people that come up to us is exciting: a young gay kid, or the parents of a young gay kid, or gay parents, or older people—shoutout to the OGs always—they didn't get to live like this, as much as they forged this path. I think it's part of our responsibility as well to continue to clear a path. Sue's teammate—she didn't come out, she just was out. We were looking at Instagram, and her teammate just posted something with her girlfriend. It was like, did she just come out? No ... she didn't have to come out! It just was!

SUE: It was a moment!

MEGAN: We're really happy and excited, and we want to show that to people—especially younger people. The amount of people that come up to us is exciting: a young gay kid, or the parents of a young gay kid, or gay parents, or older people—shoutout to the OGs always—they didn't get to live like this, as much as they forged this path. I think it's part of our responsibility as well to continue to clear a path. Sue's teammate—she didn't come out, she just was out. We were looking at Instagram, and her teammate just posted something with her girlfriend. It was like, did she just come out? No ... she didn't have to come out! It just was!

SUE: It was a moment!

New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.
New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.
New Victors: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird.

Join Megan, Sue and Nike on a journey to Play New. Together.

Related Stories

New Idols

Athletes*

New Idols: Dylan Alcott

New Runways

Athletes*

New Runways: Alexa Moreno

New Distances

Athletes*

New Distances: Serena Williams

Serena Williams Design Crew Origin

Introducing

Serena Williams Design Crew

Serena Williams Design Crew Origin

Introducing

Serena Williams Design Crew