-- WNBA star Breanna Stewart said she was sexually abused as a child in an essay published Monday morning by The Players' Tribune.
Stewart wrote that she was abused for two years, starting when she was 9 years old, by a man who "lived in one of the houses" of a relative. She did not reveal her alleged abuser's identity, saying only that the man "was a construction worker."
Stewart, now an All-Star forward for the Seattle Storm, wrote that basketball helped her cope with the abuse, saying that the sport "became a sort of safe space for me."
"In some ways, I'm still the same 11-year-old who just wanted to go to practice," Stewart wrote. "I've never been to therapy. I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to relive it. It's something I've tried to tuck away as far back on the shelf as I could. But that only works to an extent. I've cried. I cry most after I tell someone who's important to me. Talking about what I went through, explaining all of it -- it guts me. I'm forced to relive it. That's when it hits that what happened is real. It wasn't just an awful nightmare. It wasn't some other life I lived at another time.
"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."
The 6-foot-4 Stewart was a three-time Naismith Award winner -- given to college basketball's most outstanding player -- and a four-time NCAA national champion at UConn. She was the WNBA's Rookie of the Year in 2016 and was the league's second-leading scorer this past season.