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Breanna Stewart writes she was molested as a child

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Breanna Stewart was molested for two years as a child, the WNBA star wrote in an essay for The Players’ Tribune titled “Me Too.”

Stewart wrote that an unnamed construction worker abused her from ages 9 to 11 at a house where she slept over all the time.

“I don’t know how to say this part,” she wrote. “I haven’t told many people. I’m not the most vulnerable person — I don’t talk about my feelings much — so this is uncomfortable.

“I was molested for years.”

She told her parents when she was 11, and the man was arrested and confessed, according to Stewart’s essay.

Stewart, 23 and the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic basketball team that won gold in Rio, said she was encouraged to come forward as part of the #MeToo movement by another Olympic champion.

“I was recently reading McKayla Maroney’s personal account of sexual abuse — one of many powerful stories the #metoo campaign has inspired — and I felt … less alone,” she wrote.

“I’ll never forgive him. But I’m not ashamed. I’m angry he took advantage of me as a child. I’ll never get that time back. And what memories I still have, I’ll never be able to erase them. Sometimes I wish for a few more black holes.”

Stewart, a star at UConn and now the Seattle Storm, said she came forward because she could save someone’s life.

“That’s why I’m writing this. This is bigger than me,” she wrote. “I’m still working through what comes next now that I have told my story. In sharing, I know that no matter how uncomfortable I typically am making things about myself, as a public survivor, I now assume a certain responsibility. So I’ll start by saying this: If you are being abused, tell somebody. If that person doesn’t believe you, tell somebody else. A parent, a family member, a teacher, a coach, a friend’s parent. Help is there.”

Sue Bird keeps Team USA door open, too

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Some days, Sue Bird feels as if she’s on borrowed time. Other days, the WNBA’s oldest player considers a potential fifth Olympics in Tokyo.

“Only three years away,” she said Sunday.

Bird, like her former University of Connecticut teammate Diana Taurasi, sounds more optimistic now about playing for Team USA again than she did last year. They could both be on the 2018 World Cup team.

Taurasi said last week that she would keep playing for the national team as long as she’s asked, with one likely caveat. Bird would have to suit up, too.

“It’s easy to group us in a lot of ways,” Bird said before scoring a season-high 21 points in a Seattle Storm loss at the New York Liberty on Sunday. “I’m sure the decision will be kind of, sort of together, but at the same time, separate.

“In terms of health and where you are in two, three years, it’s tough to say. I can also tell you that, I think I can speak for both of us when I say, if we’re both playing at a high level and feel good and we’re asked to represent our country, it would be really hard to say no.”

Bird turns 40 in 2020, when she will be nearly three years older than any previous U.S. Olympic basketball player. She said before Rio that 2016 would likely be her last Olympics.

Bird, who missed one game in Rio with a left knee sprain, underwent left knee surgery for a fifth time in April. But she’s averaging a career-high 8.1 assists per game this season, leading the WNBA through seven games.

New U.S. coach Dawn Staley, who replaced Geno Auriemma (Bird and Taurasi’s college coach), said in March that it was her gut feeling that both Bird and Taurasi would make a run for Tokyo. Staley, Bird and Taurasi were teammates at the 2004 Athens Games.

Bird said she hasn’t had any discussions with Staley and no meaningful ones with women’s national team director Carol Callan the spring.

But Bird and Taurasi may well be needed. The U.S. team of 12 in Rio included just three primary guards — Taurasi, Bird and Lindsay Whalen, all 34 years and older.

“If it comes down to it and the team needs me in whatever capacity I’d oblige,” Bird said, according to The Associated Press. “I don’t think if you’re asked to represent your country you say no to them.”

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Breanna Stewart wants to play 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 in Tokyo

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Breanna Stewart has the versatility that lends well to the Olympic debut of 3-on-3 basketball at the Tokyo Games.

If Stewart has the opportunity, she would like to show off those skills. The Seattle Storm forward thinks she could go for two gold medals in 2020.

“If it’s possible to play both, I would love to play both,” Stewart said Sunday, two days after 3-on-3 was added to the Olympic program. “I mean, who wouldn’t?”

LeBron James wouldn’t.

“Growing up playing basketball, you play 3-on-3,” Stewart said before her Storm lost to the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. “You go to the [YMCA], you play 3-on-3. It highlights people’s skill a lot more because it’s only six players on the court. It’s how you can be better than the defender.”

Stewart, 22, became the youngest U.S. Olympic women’s basketball player since 1988 in Rio. She won her fourth NCAA title with Connecticut and was drafted No. 1 overall by the Storm last year.

She may be limited in her 2020 Olympic choices.

FIBA hasn’t announced the qualifying or competition format for Olympic 3-on-3. A FIBA spokesman said Monday that process will take at least two more months to determine.

IOC sports director Kit McConnell said Friday that 3-on-3 players will be “specialists” without providing more specifics.

Even if FIBA allows WNBA or NBA players in 3-on-3, USA Basketball and, potentially, the pro leagues would have to sign off.

Recent Olympic women’s basketball tournaments have run from Day 1 through Day 15 of the Games. If that remains, it’s hard to imagine players taking part in the traditional 5-on-5, then switching to a 3-on-3 game, and then back again.

While no NBA players have taken part in FIBA-sanctioned global 3-on-3 competitions, some WNBA notables competed in 3-on-3 world championships while still in college (Skylar Diggins, Bria Hartley and Chiney Ogwumike in 2012, Jewell Loyd in 2014).

Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn’s top two scorers last season, earned 3-on-3 gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics.

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