Brittney Yevette Griner (born October 18, 1990) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She was a Baylor Lady Bears basketball player in Waco, Texas. She is the only NCAA basketball player to have 2,000 points and 500 blocks.
In 2012, the three-time All-American was voted AP Player of the Year and Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Brittney Griner’s Early life
Griner attended Houston’s Nimitz High School. She inscribed in basketball throughout high school and also played varsity volleyball as a freshman.
Griner led the Nimitz Cougars to the Texas 5A girls’ basketball state championship game, where they were defeated 52-43 by Mansfield Summit High School.
Griner was named the number one high school athlete in the country by Rivals.com, was featured on the cover of ESPN’s Rise magazine, and was named the 2009 State Farm/WBCA High School Player of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
Griner also received the ESPY Award for best female college athlete in 2013. She won the Honda Sports Award for basketball in 2012, as well as the Honda-Broderick Cup for all sports.
Griner’s ability to dunk, among other things, is credited for garnering the women’s game greater attention. She owns the NCAA record for career dunks with 18 total dunks. She surpassed Candace Parker as the all-time leader in NCAA women’s dunks.
- 2009—WBCA High School Coaches’ All-America Team
- 2011—WBCA NCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year
- 2012—WBCA NCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year
- 2013—WBCA NCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year
- 2014—FIBA World Championship All-Star Five
Brittney was chosen to the Advocate’s annual “40 under 40” list in 2014, and she was also named to ESPNW’s Impact 25 that year.
Griner came out as a lesbian on February 11, 2013. She also revealed in the interview that she was bullied as a child, explaining, “It’s hard. Just being picked on for being different. Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything.” She said she is very passionate about working with children to bring attention to the issue of bullying, particularly against LGBT people.
Her Nike endorsement arrangement was the first time the corporation had done so with an openly gay athlete. Griner proposed to Cherelle Watson in August 2018, and the couple married in June 2019.
2022 arrest in Russia
Griner was detained in Russia on smuggling accusations on February 17, 2022. She was stopped at Sheremetyevo International Airport by the Federal Customs Service after the Federal Customs Service discovered she was carrying vaporizer cartridges containing less than a gram of hash oil; she had been given medicinal cannabis in Arizona, which is banned in Russia.
The Phoenix Mercury superstar center was convicted and sentenced to nine years of hard labor in Russia in August. Months of diplomatic efforts to liberate Griner or trade her for Russian inmates have so far delivered disappointing results.
Russian prisoners, according to Dave Zurin, are regularly treated as subhumans. Griner can expect racism, homophobia, almost no medical care, 16-hour workdays, severe labor conditions, and living in squalor.
Russian inmates, according to The Nation’s Dave Zurin, could be subjected to “beatings and torture,” according to Russian musician Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the feminist organization Pussy Riot. She testified to Zurin, describing her two years in a Russian prison as a living horror.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has repeatedly told the public that the US State Department is working tirelessly through diplomatic channels to achieve Griner’s release.