Brittney Griner


August 19, 2022

Brittney Yevette Griner (born October 18, 1990 in Houston, Texas) is an American basketball player for the North American professional league WNBA. She has been in the Phoenix Mercury squad since 2013. The 2.03 meter tall Griner is mainly used in the center position and is considered one of the best and most dominant players in women's basketball. Blocking is one of her greatest strengths in the game. She is also one of the few female basketball players who can dunk. Prior to her professional basketball career, she played for Baylor University from 2009 to 2013 and won the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship with the Baylor Lady Bears in the 2011-12 season. In the 2013 WNBA Draft, Griner was selected as the 1st overall pick by Phoenix Mercury, with whom she won the 2014 WNBA championship title. As a player on the United States women's national basketball team, she won two world titles (2014 and 2018) and two gold medals at the Olympic Games (2016 and 2020). During the WNBA off-season, Griner first played for two Chinese teams and since 2015 for the Russian club UGMK Yekaterinburg, with whom she was Russian champion six times and won the Euroleague Women four times. In 2013, she came out to the media as a lesbian. Since then she has been publicly committed to the LGBTQ community. On February 17, 2022, Griner was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on charges of illegal drug possession and smuggling after a small amount of hash oil was found in her luggage. On August 4, 2022, she was sentenced to nine years in prison and a fine. The arrest and the amount of the sentence are considered by the US government to be illegal and politically motivated. She is campaigning for Griner's release and has offered Russia a prisoner exchange. Numerous sports greats and other celebrities have expressed their support for Griner on social media.

Life and Career

Early years

Griner was born on October 18, 1990 to Raymond and Sandra Griner in Houston, Texas, where she grew up with her older sister, Pier. Her older half-siblings, DeCarlo and Shkera, are from their father's previous marriage. While her mother was a homemaker, Griner's father, a former US Marine Corps soldier and Vietnam War veteran, worked for the Harris County Sheriff's Office for 35 years. A tomboy from a young age, Griner preferred to help her father fix cars, than playing with dolls. She attended Teague Middle School in Humble, in the Houston metro area, and then attended Nimitz High School in Harris County, where she was considered a fine student. Because her father would not allow her to socialize with other children after school, Griner spent a lot of time alone in her room and had few friends. In her final year of high school, Griner revealed to her parents that she is a lesbian. There was a temporary rift with her father, who initially did not want to accept his daughter's homosexuality. Griner then left home for several weeks until she finally reconciled with her father. During her school days, Griner was bullied by her classmates so massively for years because of her height, her masculine appearance and her deep voice that she considered suicide to commit. She processed these experiences, among other things, in her 2014 autobiography In My Skin. My Life On and Off the Basketball Court, in which she retrospectively wrote, "I think I started feeling different when everyone started telling me I am."

Amateur career

High School (2007-2009)

Compared to other WNBA pro