Interview with Breanna Stewart: An Unforgettable Year
BY EMILY SOLOMON | EDITORIAL INTERN
Last month, in my Sports Round Up, I bragged about how awesome Breanna Stewart is and all that she has accomplished on and off the court: Championships, MVPs, records broken, history made, so many boxes checked and items crossed off the bucket list.
I commended her for choosing bravery and honesty as she shared her Me Too story, and inspiring many others to stand up and do the same. This time, I was lucky enough to get to talk with Breanna personally, as I tried to fend off my inner fan girl and obsession with one of my favorite role models every step of the way. I got to ask her a little more about how she felt post-Me Too, probed about her past role models, and sought out advice for younger girls aspiring to play at the next level.
Breanna Stewart, for those of you who don’t know, is a forward for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. After winning a WNBA championship, WNBA MVP, and Finals MVP this past season, Breanna is currently playing overseas in Russia for Dynamo Kursk. She is averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds a game for the undefeated squad, picking up right where she left off in the 2018 WNBA season.
Emily: What was your most satisfying accomplishment of the past year and why?
Breanna: My most satisfying accomplishment of the past year was definitely winning the WNBA championship. It has always been a goal of mine and more so coming into this season than ever. I obviously wanted to win, but doing that alongside Sue was something especially important to me.
E: What has the past year been like since you shared your Me Too story?
B: The past year has been really complete. I do not have a word for it honestly, but it has been a year where I kind of did things for me. Releasing my story was just the start and then everything else seemed to follow perfectly. I was able to play the game and not have to worry about anything else except that.
E: Did anything go differently than expected?
B: I don’t think anything went different than I expected. I knew that I wanted to put myself first and kind of do that in all facets of life, not realizing how much it would help me at the time.
E: What do you hope for the league to accomplish in terms of pay and media equality in the near future?
B: My hopes for the league as far as pay and media equality is that we just continue to grow and reach new heights. Nothing is going to happen overnight, but opting out of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) is a way to start and make things more acceptable for Women's Basketball players who play professionally in the United States.
E: What advice would you give to high school/college level female athletes?
B: Advice I would give to high school and college female athletes is just continue to try and be better. Not only for yourself, but for the people who are coming up behind you. We are trying to make things better for the next generation than they were for us. I would also tell them to enjoy the moment, life comes at you fast and especially high school and college. Looking back, it seemed like my time was so quick and those are some of the best memories in your life.
E: Explain a typical day in your life. How does your routine/mindset change once WNBA season is over and as you transition to a new routine overseas?
B: A typical day for me, overseas or WNBA, is pretty similar. I wake up and do my treatment (if necessary) and then get ready for practice. Depending on the game schedule some time I will have a lift. Playing in the WNBA and then overseas makes it seem like the season is never ending, which has its ups and downs, On the plus side I never have to get ready because I'm always in the 'in-season' mode. But on the down side I have to be very aware of how I am taking care of my body so I will be able to compete in the moment but also have a very long career.
E: Which women's basketball player did you look up to as a kid?
Breanna: Women's basketball players that I looked up to when I was young were Diana Taurasi, Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker, and Sheryl Swoopes. Especially the ones who paved the way for me to be able to be doing what I love at a professional level.
I’ve been lucky to meet Breanna on a few different occasions. Sometimes after a brutal loss, sometimes after the Storm crushed the Mercury, but no matter the score of the game, it never changed how she treated me or anyone else around her. With her busy overseas schedule and seemingly constant worldwide travel, she still found the time to answer a 20-year-old fan-girl’s questions probing into her life as a professional athlete.
I learned a lot about what it takes to be a professional basketball player even more after getting to chat with Breanna, especially the kind of person it takes off the court. Everyone knows the hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears it takes to be great, but few truly value great character.
It’s so much bigger than basketball. It’s people like Breanna Stewart who show us that.
Each month, one of our interns will interview a former athlete and current leader. Our mission is to connect our girl athletes to experienced ones, to tell the stories of our women’s sports community, and to inspire her own voice. Interested in joining our Editorial Internship Program in the spring? Send a brief letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.