Breanna Stewart: The Greatest Winner in Sports


When you think of the most accomplished athletes, the most common are Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and even Bill Russell.

What about Breanna Stewart?

The Seattle Storm forward has one of the most successful careers in sports, but her success isn’t known as much because of her gender. So how successful has Stewart really been?

UCONN Not Stop Stewie

Stewart went to the University of Connecticut, where all she did was win. She finished with 151-5 and four National Championships through four seasons at UCONN, and four of her losses came during her first year. Her accomplishments included AP Player of the year, Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award, and Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. She is the first player to win the Final Four Most Outstanding Player two, three, and four times.

Even after her collegiate career, the Seattle Storm forward has had a significant impact. While UCONN has had some great basketball players come through the program, they didn’t return to the championship game until 2022.

Stewart set the standard for women’s college basketball success. Whether men’s or women’s, you’d have to go back to 1966-1969 to find comparable college basketball success to the Storm forward. Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won three national championships with UCLA with a record of 88-2 in three seasons. While Abdul-Jabbar had fewer losses overall than Stewart, he did have one fewer title and played three seasons to Stewart’s four due to freshmen not being eligible in that era.

Seattle Storm Select Breanna Stewart

In 2016, the Storm drafted Breanna Stewart first overall. Before playing for her new team, she won her first of two gold medals for Team USA in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Stewart’s accomplishments didn’t stop in college. In 2016, she won rookie of the year and earned WNBA All-Rookie team, WNBA All-Defensive Second Team, and Second Team All-WNBA honors.

Seattle had just received the news of their hall of fame forward Lauren Jackson retiring due to injury, so picking Breanna Stewart was a relief for fans. But, even though Stewart replaced Jackson at the forward position, the franchise’s success didn’t change.

“Stewie For MVP” Sounds Sweet

2018 was the best year in professional basketball for Stewie. Seattle won their third championship as a franchise, and Stewart won finals MVP at 25.7 points and 6 rebounds per game in a three-game WNBA Seattle sweep vs. Washington.

Stewart also won MVP for the 2018 season after averaging 21.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 41.5% from 3-point land per game. Storm fans nicknamed her “Queen of the WNBA,” as she was rightfully taking the WNBA by and with the storm. However, while she was a first-time WNBA champion and MVP living her best life in 2018, the following year in 2019 brought the worst setback any athlete could face.

The Queen Trips On The Red Carpet

In April 2019, Stewart played in a Euroleague game vs. UMMC Ekaterinburg. After landing on fellow WNBA star Brittney Griner‘s foot, Stewart ruptured her Achilles. This injury ruled her out for the upcoming season, with a long road to recovery ahead. She would join the long list of stars who’ve suffered this grueling injury. The list included NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson, who all took approximately one and a half years to recover fully. One could assume the same for Stewart’s estimated recovery timetable.

Stewart felt confused at first. Reflecting on her injury, she told Kelley O’Hara on the “Just Women’s Sports” podcast, “I was thinking in my head, ‘Oh, I hope I broke my ankle.'” Basketball stars returning from a torn Achilles would be lucky to get back to their previous skill level.  Stewart had different plans. She showed she could accomplish the impossible after tearing her Achilles: playing even better before the injury!

The Queen Still Reigns

With the WNBA transitioning their season to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, Stewart’s return from injury occurred impressively. She averaged 25.7 Points, 7.8 Rebounds, and 1.7 Blocks per game in the 2020 playoffs. Stewart won her second WNBA championship and finals MVP with the Seattle Storm, the franchise’s fourth championship.

During the 2021 season, Stewie kept on winning. Seattle won the newly implemented Commissioner’s Cup beating the Connecticut Sun 79-57. In her Commissioners Cup MVP-worthy performance, Stewart finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 4 steals. Unfortunately, Stewart’s 2021 season was cut short due to injuring her foot in the second to last regular-season game against Washington.

Everything Stewie Touches Turns To Gold

Stewart is one of the most outstanding winners ever. No other woman in division one college basketball history has won four championships. In the WNBA, Breanna Stewart can win as many titles as her career health allows. The same goes for her Olympic career, winning two gold medals already. Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA player ever, and Tom Brady is the best in the NFL. Stewart won more awards than them and overcame obstacles that even players like Kobe and Kevin Durant had to fight ardently. Unfortunately, too many media outlets refuse to consider Stewart’s success or even diminish it just due to her gender. Nevertheless, the Storm has one of the greatest keys to winning in sports history. And it’s not Sue Bird; it’s Breanna Stewart.

About Brenden Potts

Brenden is an American writer and Washington State University Sport Management student in Pullman Washington. He has less than a year of writing experience getting started with The Lead. He writes about the Seattle Storm for The Lead.

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