Breanna Stewart, the luminary of the New York Liberty, has earned the prestigious title of the 2023 WNBA Most Valuable Player. This crowning achievement comes on the heels of a remarkable regular season, during which she guided New York to an astonishing 32-8 record, standing shoulder to shoulder with the talents of Sabrina Ionescu and Jonquel Jones.
Stewart’s remarkable feat as a WNBA MVP isn’t new; she previously clinched the same title back in 2018. A time when she donned the jersey of the Seattle Storm. Her remarkable accomplishments make her foremost figure in annals of Liberty and a trailblazer in New York’s professional basketball scene. The first since the unforgettable 1969-70 season.
Jonathan Kolb, the General Manager of the Liberty, couldn’t contain his elation as he stated, “Stewie’s inaugural season with the New York Liberty has etched an indelible mark in the annals of history. Her unyielding determination, unwavering belief, selfless spirit, unwavering mettle, and impeccable professionalism have converged to create an exceedingly rare combination. This culminated in a season that is nothing short of extraordinary, both on a personal and collective front. We couldn’t be more thrilled to see Stewie rightfully claim the highest individual honor in our sport. As she propels both our franchise and the WNBA to unprecedented heights.”
Stewart outshone luminaries like Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun and the seasoned A’ja Wilson from the Las Vegas Aces to grasp this accolade. The margin between Stewart and Thomas was astonishingly thin. Marking it as the second closest contest in the history of this prestigious award, as reported by ESPN’s Alexa Philippou.
At 29 years of age, Stewart secured her maiden MVP honor in 2018, dazzling the league with her impressive stats. Averaging 21.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks in 34 games. She boasted a shooting percentage of 52.9% from the field and 41.5% from beyond the arc. This was the season that led the Seattle Storm to their 2018 WNBA title. One of two championships she’s acquired during her six-season tenure in Seattle, with the other being claimed in 2020.
The year 2023 witnessed Stewart in the prime of her career, donning the Liberty jersey for the first time. Her remarkable season included averages of 23.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.6 blocks in 40 games. Her field goal percentage stood at 46.5%, with a three-point shooting efficiency of 35.5%.
During the regular season, the Liberty secured the WNBA’s second-best record. Breanna Stewart played an instrumental role in helping the franchise clinch the Commissioner’s Cup. Currently, New York is trailing 0-1 against the Sun in the semifinals. With a ticket to the WNBA Finals hanging in the balance.
Stewart now joins the elite ranks of eight players in WNBA history to have secured multiple MVP titles and is the second player to do so with more than one franchise. She expressed her delight, saying, “It is undoubtedly a privilege to claim this honor for the second time and to do so in the iconic Liberty uniform, a first in my career. I am eagerly looking forward to the celebration tonight, with high hopes that the fans will revel in the moment.”
Breanna Stewart made a momentous decision in the annals of the WNBA when she opted to part ways with the Storm and signed on with the Liberty as a free agent in February. In her own words, “I chose New York because I am commit to continued excellence. I aim to contribute to the league’s elevation and the setting of higher standards. Why not opt for the grandest stage in the realm of sports? I’m tremendously excited about pursuing the first championship for this remarkable city.”
With the Liberty currently facing a 0-1 deficit against the Sun, Stewart and New York will need to summon their deepest reservoirs of strength to level the series on Tuesday night at the Barclays Center.