Back home and giving back- Breanna Stewart holds first camp in Central New York
A chance to learn from the best in the world?
An opportunity to play with a WNBA Champion and MVP?
That's the amazing Sunday morning so many kids had at North Syracuse Junior High School, Breanna Stewart's alma-mater.
Stewart might have done it all in her playing career, a high school state, national, world, and Olympic championship but there was still one box to check.
Holding a camp for kids in her hometown.
“It’s great to be back, especially at the holidays happy to be home with my family. I think this time is a little different with the recent success in the WNBA, Team USA and now coming back and having this camp and it’s kind of buzz the buzz for a while”
The scene was incredible, two camp sessions with more than 120 kids in each was surreal. Proceeds from the camp go to the Vera House.
The camp focused on fundamentals like dribbling but also offered fun opportunities, like playing "knockout" or trying to steal the ball from Bre.
Between it all I asked Bre if there's ever a time if she thinks about all she's done and if it's felt like a whirlwind, she quickly replies "Yes".
“Usually when I’m in a place for a long time I’ll look back and say that was kind of crazy, when I get back to Russia I’ll probably think that trip home was crazy. You know bouncing all over the place but at the same time I want to do as much as I can, I want to do as much as I can when I’m home and kind of appreciate the city appreciate everyone who supported me and continues to support me and show them that I’m supporting this”
“That’s the biggest thing, through all the success and all the places I’ve been, home is always going to be home” she adds.
The basketball side is obvious, but remember Stewart is an inspiration to even people who don't follow sports.
In 2017, Breanna announced to the world the abuse she endured as a child.
Now, she hopes her experience will help others know they're not alone in this situation.
I asked her if with everything she's accomplished AND everything she's gone through, what it's like to have the kids at this camp be able to look up and learn from her, to which Bre said:
“It’s exactly what this city deserves and this city needs."
She adds "Especially, his is my first camp, so I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of learning curves and that type of thing but to be able to come back to a place where I grew up, a place where I played and give back to this community and kind of touch as many of these kids as I can, touch their lives and hopefully show them and help them have a successful path whether its basketball or anything in life."
"Representing C-NS, Syracuse, 315 that’s what it’s all about” she says.
Stewart is an amazing ambassador for Central New York, a legend in basketball already--at just 24 years old. She knows she's done it all.
But all that means? She wants to do it more.
“It’s not like I’m retiring I’m 24, I have a lot of years left. I think when you look at the basketball side of things it’s just I’ve been at every level and had success at every level and now it’s about doing that over and over”
I had to ask, with all that she's done, is there one championship or memory that sticks out above the rest?
"“Winning the gold medal at the Olympics, ever since I played Team USA Basketball that was a goal of mine but I have to say this past championship run with Seattle was a feeling like no other. Having the city really embrace us, Game 5 with Phoenix was insane and then to sweep D.C. it was just something I will never forget and I hope to do it as many times as possible for Seattle and Syracuse."
The Emerald City and the Salt City may be almost 3,000 miles apart but they share something in common without a doubt.
An absolute love and admiration for Breanna Stewart and all that she represents.