Brittney Griner

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Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner accepting Wade Trophy 2.jpg
Brittney Griner accepting Wade Trophy in 2012.
No. 42 – Phoenix Mercury
Position Center
League WNBA
Personal information
Born (1990-10-18) October 18, 1990 (age 28)
Houston, Texas
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight 205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school Nimitz (Houston, Texas)
College Baylor (2009–2013)
WNBA draft 2013 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Phoenix Mercury
Playing career 2013–present
Career history
2013–2015 Phoenix Mercury
2015-present UMMC Ekaterinburg
Career highlights and awards
Stats at

Brittney Yevette Griner (born October 18, 1990) is an American professional basketball player currently playing as a women's basketball center with the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). She played college basketball at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.[1][2] She was the first NCAA basketball player ever to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots.[3] In 2012, the three-time All-American was named the AP Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

Standing 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) tall, Griner wears a men's US size 17 shoe and has an arm span of 86 in (2.2 m).[4][5]

In 2009, Griner was named the nation's #1 high school women's basketball player by[4] Griner was selected to the 2009 McDonald's All-American basketball team.[6] In 2012 she received the Best Female Athlete ESPY Award.

Early life

Griner is the daughter of Raymond and Sandra Griner. She has three older siblings.

High school career

Griner attended Nimitz High School in Houston. In addition to lettering in basketball throughout high school, she played varsity volleyball as a freshman.

During her senior year, Griner led the Cougars to the Texas 5A girls basketball state championship game, where Nimitz lost 52–43 to Mansfield Summit High School. Griner dunked 52 times in 32 games as a senior, setting a single-game record of seven dunks against Aldine High School.[7] The mayor of Houston Bill White declared May 7, 2009, Brittney Griner Day. On 11 November 2008, she recorded 25 blocks in a game against Houston Alief Hastings, the most ever recorded by a female in a high school game in the US. In her 2008–09 season, she recorded 318 blocks, a single season record.[8]

Griner was named a WBCA All-American and participated in the 2009 WBCA High School All-America Game, leading the team by scoring 20 points and collecting 9 rebounds.[9]

College career

Griner played college basketball at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. As a freshman, Griner's 223 blocked shots set the all-time single-season record, establishing her as one of the greatest shot blockers in women's basketball history.[10] On December 16, 2009, Griner recorded Baylor's first triple-double[11] with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and Big 12 Conference record 11 blocked shots. In January 2010, she became only the seventh player to dunk during a women's college basketball game,[12] and only the second woman to dunk twice in a single college game, making the second and third dunks of her college career[13] in a lopsided 99–18 victory against Texas State University.

On March 3, 2010, Griner and Texas Tech Jordan Barncastle were battling for position near the lane. As a foul was being called on Barncastle, Griner took two steps forward and threw a right handed roundhouse punch which broke Barncastle's nose. Griner was then ejected from the game. Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey then imposed another one-game suspension in addition to the one-game suspension mandated by NCAA rules.[14][15]

Baylor entered the NCAA Tournament as a 4th seed, and knocked off top-seeded Tennessee in the Sweet 16. On March 22, Griner set an NCAA tournament record with 14 blocked shots in a 49–33 win against the Georgetown Hoyas.[16] In the Elite Eight, Baylor defeated Duke 51–48, and Griner blocked 9 shots, totaling 35 for the tournament, a new NCAA Women's Tournament record. Duke's Alison Bales had held the previous record of 30 blocks in the 2006 NCAA Women's Tournament.[17] Baylor reached the Final Four, before losing to eventual-champion UConn, 70–50. Griner was named an AP Second Team All-American.[18]

As a sophomore, Griner received First Team All-American honors after averaging 23 points a game, including a career-high 40 points against Green Bay in the Sweet 16.[19]

In her junior season, Griner averaged 23.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5 blocks per game.[19] She blocked more shots than any other Division I women's team that season.[20] Griner was named AP Player of the Year [21] and The 2012 Premier Player of Women's College Basketball.

On April 3, 2012, Griner led Baylor with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocked shots to win the Division I Women's Basketball Championship, 80–61 over Notre Dame. Griner was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player. Baylor finished its undefeated season with 40 wins, the most in NCAA history.[22]

After winning the championship on 3 April 2012, Griner decided to withdraw her candidacy for a roster spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team. A month later Griner broke her wrist after jumping off her skateboard when she was going down a ramp.[23]

Her college career came to an end in the 2013 NCAA women's basketball tournament to the University of Louisville Cardinals in the sweet 16.[24] Louisville eventually went on to lose to Connecticut in their 2nd championship game appearance.

College statistics

Year GP-GS MPG PPG Season high FG% RPG Season high BPG Season high APG TPG Notable stat.
2009–10 35–35 33.5 18.4 34 50% 8.5 21 6.4 14 1.0 2.8 Set NCAA record for blocks in a season
2010–11 37–37 31.8 23.0 40 54% 7.8 15 4.6 10 1.4 2.1
2011–12 40–40 32.7 23.2 45 61% 9.5 15 5.2 9 1.6 1.7
2012–13 33–33 30.3 23.8 50 60% 9.0 15 4.8 7 2.4 1.8 736 career blocked shots is NCAA record for men and women

*2012–13 statistics as of 3/21/13

Year Baylor record NCAA tournament result AP All-American
2009–10 27–10 Final Four (lost to UConn 70–50) 2nd Team
2010–11 34–3 Elite Eight (lost to Texas A&M 58-46) 1st Team
2011–12 40–0 CHAMPION (80–61 win over Notre Dame) 1st Team
2012–13 34–2 Sweet Sixteen (lost to Louisville 82-81) 1st Team

Professional career

Phoenix Mercury

Griner dunking at the 2015 WNBA All-Star game held at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville CT

The only international players surpassing her height are the late Margo Dydek, at 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m), the late Sue Geh, at 2.05 metres (6 ft 9 in) tall, Heidi Gillingham at 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) and Allyssa DeHaan. In the 2013 WNBA Draft, the Phoenix Mercury selected Griner as the first overall pick. In her debut on May 27, 2013 against Chicago Sky, Griner equaled the WNBA dunk record, recording two dunks to equal Candace Parker's career total.[25] She thus became the third WNBA player to dunk and first to do so twice in one game.[26] On August 24, 2014, Griner became the first WNBA player to dunk in a playoff game when she helped the Mercury defeat the Los Angeles Sparks, 93-68, at Staples Center.[27] On September 12, 2014, Griner and the Mercury swept the Chicago Sky in the 2014 WNBA Finals, 3 games to 0, to capture the Mercury's third championship in franchise history.[28]

USA Basketball

In September 2011, Griner spent two weeks playing under coach Geno Auriemma for the U.S. National Team as part of its European training tour. Griner was the only college player in the group.[29] She averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a game with the USA team in Europe.[23]

Griner was the sole player still playing in college on the 2012 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team finalists roster.[30] Excluding Griner, the average age on the finalists roster was approximately 30 years old compared to Griner, who was 22 years old at the time of the Olympics. Griner decided in April 2012 not to participate in the 2012 Olympics due to family illness and her school schedule.[31]

In April 2013, the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise asked Griner to appear in tryouts for the team.[32]


Along with being selected as the number one high school player in the country by, Griner was featured on the cover of ESPN's Rise magazine,[33] and was selected by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association as the 2009 State Farm/WBCA High School Player of the Year.[33] Griner also won the 2013 ESPY Award for best female college athlete. She was the 2012 winner of the Honda award for basketball[34] and the overall Honda-Broderick Cup winner for all sports.[35] She was the 2012 recipient of the Wade Trophy, presented to the best female NCAA Division I basketball player who embodies the "Spirit of Margaret Wade."[36] She was the winner of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, in 2012, and again in 2013. The award is given by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to the nation's top Division I women's player.[37]

  • 2009—WBCA High School Coaches' All-America Team[38]
  • 2011—WBCA NCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year[39]
  • 2012—WBCA NCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year[39]
  • 2013—WBCA NCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year[39]
  • 2014—FIBA World Championship All-Star Five[40]

In 2014, Griner was included as part of the Advocate's annual "40 under 40" list.[41]

She was also named one of ESPNW's Impact 25 in 2014.[42]

Personal life

In an interview with on April 17, 2013, Griner publicly came out as lesbian. 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 in order to bring attention to the issue of bullying, particularly against LGBT people.[43]

Griner–Johnson domestic violence case

On August 14, 2014, Griner announced her engagement to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson.[44][45] The pair were arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct on April 22, 2015, after police broke up a fight between the two in their Goodyear, Arizona home. Both had sustained minor injuries.[46][47] They were married on May 9, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.[48][49] On June 4, 2015 Griner and Johnson announced that Johnson was pregnant. The following day, Griner filed for an annulment of the marriage citing fraud and duress.[49] Griner has no biological connection to the baby.[49]

On May 15, 2015, the WNBA suspended Griner and Johnson for seven games each after Griner pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct charges. Griner is also required to complete 26 weeks of domestic violence counseling.[50]


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External links