May 14, 2021 

Everything’s coming up Stewie

An engagement and a shoe deal in tow, Breanna Stewart is ready for the 2021 season

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It seems that the life of Breanna Stewart is pretty darn good right about now.

Stewart is back in Seattle after winning both the EuroLeague and the Russian League with UMMC Ekaterinburg and collecting the MVP awards in each competition, too. It’s just two more trophies to add to an already well-packed trophy case for the 26-year-old.

Stewart didn’t play in either of the Storm’s two preseason matchups against the Phoenix Mercury (though humorously, a box score inputting error listed Stewart as playing the last two minutes and eight seconds in the preseason game in Phoenix, a feat that would have been rather remarkable to do while simultaneously not being in Phoenix).

But on the way back to Seattle from Russia, Stewart took a detour and stopped in Phoenix for a few days to add perhaps her most important achievement yet: engagement to her girlfriend Marta Xargay.

“It was kind of in the works for a little while, I had the ring for a while and just finding the right time to do it,” Stewart said at the Storm’s Media Day on Sunday. “Getting her to go out into the desert a little bit wasn’t her favorite idea on her off day, but I think it’s her favorite thing now.”

Xargay was on the Mercury’s training camp roster and had Sunday, May 3 as an off day and Stewart was in town for a little break from basketball before heading up to Seattle to quarantine. On that day, Stewart said the two were planning on going on a hike but Xargay went to do a workout in the morning before that, leaving Stewart with time to let her nerves run wild.

“That’s when I felt the weight on my chest and the anxiety,” Stewart said. “Because I knew I wanted to do it. It was just like, ‘How am I going to make it perfect? How I am going to hide this ring box that’s so big and doesn’t fit in pockets?’ and those type of things.”

And, in showing that she is human like the rest of us (or at least like me when I get that nervous), Stewart popped open a can of alcoholic seltzer water and settle herself before going to Papago Park.

“She got back to the room and it was like 12 and I already had a Truly,” Stewart said. “And she’s like, ‘Oh, we’re already having Trulys this early?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, just to calm my nerves. Did yoga, all these things.’”

Xargay admits that she did not want to go hiking — “You know Phoenix, it’s super hot,” Xargay said — but was convinced by Stewart to go to meet up with a friend they hadn’t seen for a long time and take some pictures. It turned out to be something just a bit bigger than that.

“I wasn’t expecting that to happen,” Xargay said. “It turned out to be a really good day.”

Xargay — who was waived from the Mercury’s roster on May 8 — said that her Mercury teammates and coaches were thrilled for her when she first practiced with the team two days later. She also couldn’t keep the smile off her face, either.

“They were super excited — Everybody was so happy,” Xargay said. “It’s a happy moment, so everybody enjoys those moments, everyone’s happy to see those moments and wants to enjoy it too. Just glad that they were happy for us and I’m happy too, what can I say?”

And, as anyone who has had an engagement or marriage in the last 14+ months understands, doing these things in a COVID-safe way isn’t easy. But in the end, both said it was “perfect.”

“She said she didn’t enjoy hiking, she said, ‘Why are we here?’ and afterwards it was like one of her favorite experiences,” Stewart said proudly.

So newly engaged, three new championships won and three new playoff MVP trophies in the last 12 months. There’s another WNBA season starting soon where she can win her third title there, and there’s a chance to add a second Olympic gold medal coming up in Tokyo later this summer.

Oh, and news broke Wednesday morning that Stewart had signed an endorsement deal with PUMA, with Stewart creating her own signature shoe. Per The Ringer’s Mirin Fader, it’s the first original women’s shoe product since 2010, when Candace Parker had the TS Ace Commander.

Given all that, it can be tough to remember we are still just a little past the two-year mark from Stewart tearing her Achilles. This ascent beyond her previous level to a new peak is something Stewart admits is “kind of insane.”

“I don’t think I could have even hoped for it to go this well, coming back from my injury, seeing how it can really be tough for people,” Stewart said. “To be able to be here, what, just over two years post-op and be playing at a higher level than I was before, to me, that’s something that I’m really proud of.”

Stewart continued on with what must be the scariest line that any opponent could hear: “And I’m gonna use it to my advantage — have the ability to do what I do and make sure I leave it all on the court no matter where I’m playing.”

It doesn’t sound like Stewart is going to be resting on her laurels anytime soon. Good luck, everyone else.

Written by Alex Simon

SF Bay Area native, 2x grad (Elon, ASU), adjunct professor at ASU's Cronkite School, editor & journalist always looking to tell unique stories.

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