Seven-time All-Star center for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, Brittney Griner, is still being held hostage in Russia and the WNBPA has even placed calls to Biden and K. Harris to help free Brittney Griner from detention in Russia which began when Americans who were working internationally were urged to leave Russia before Putin launched his murder mission on Ukraine. In honor of her, we wanted to write this article about all the interesting things the female pro-basketballer has gone through from birth till now!
Who Is Brittney Griner? 13 Fun-Facts To Remind Us Of Her Great Accomplishments!
1. Who is Brittney Griner?
Brittney Griner is a professional basketball player currently playing in the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury Women’s National Basketball Association. She has been with Phoenix since 2013 after being selected by the team with the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft.
The tall and beautiful player started playing basketball during her high school days at Nimitz High School, Houston, as well as playing as a college student at Baylor University Waco, Texas before being drafted into the WNBA in 2013. As a college player, Brittney was the only NCAA female basketball player to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots. In addition to playing in high school, college, and in the WNBA, Brittney has also played with a couple of international teams like the Zhejiang Golden Bulls and UMMC Ekaterinburg.
2. Brittney Griner is the first openly gay lesbian to represent Nike:
Before the draft, she announced that she was a lesbian, and right now the athlete is even endorsed by Nike.
In 2015, she posed nude for ESPN magazine The Body Issue in poses that were more expressive than lascivious. She claims an often described androgynous identity : “I am treated like a boy all the time (…) Honestly, I like that my body is unique (…) I don’t like labels. But gender roles are instilled from childhood. I was told that I had to choose between feminine and masculine, but I kind of wanted to be both, because that’s who I am.
In 2014, Brittney announced her engagement to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson.
3. Childhood and going against her tough dad:
Brittney’s full name is Brittney Yevette Grinery was born on October 18, 1990 to African-American parents namely Raymond and Sandra Griner. The American pro-basketballer has three older siblings: two sisters, Shkera and Pier and a brother Decarlo Griner.
When Brittney Griner came out as a lesbian she first told her mother, Sandra Griner, about her sexuality during her freshman year of high school, but hid it from her father, Raymond Briner, until her senior year and once he found out, he kicked her out of the house.
Recalling the difficulty she had to face over time, daddy’s girl, who now has a good relationship with her father, said the experience made her a difficult person and prepared her for life. Her coming out story that she wrote in a memoir with Sue Hovey is titled In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court.
4. In school, she went viral for dunking and even met Shaq:
She attended Nimitz High School, where as a freshman, the young female baller began showing her love for the school’s volleyball team which then transitioned to basketball. During her sophomore year, she began practicing with the boys’ basketball team to build her leg strength in preparation and preparation for learning to dunk. This process was recorded and the video went viral online gaining over 2.7 million views and earned her a meeting with Shaquille O’Neal.
5. Breaking records and dunking 52 times in high school:
A tall player, she measures 2.03 m for a wingspan of 2.18 m; she wears shoe size 54 — she stood out in high school. She thus obtains the title of the nation’s number 1 player. She was selected to the 2009 McDonald’s All-American Girls basketball team and entered Baylor University for the 2009-2010 season.
The youngster became so good that in her senior days at Nimitz High School she led the school team to the Texas 5A girls basketball state championship game. The team, unfortunately, lost to Mansfield Summit High School. As a senior, Brittany dunked a record number of 52 times in 32 games which led to a single-game record of seven dunks against Aldine High School.
Her excellent records and performances soon earned her a WBCA All-American and she participated in the 2009 WBCA High School All-America Game where she led the team scoring 20 points and collecting 9 rebounds, she was soon named the #1 women’s basketball player in high school!
6. The first triple-double in college history (34 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 blocks):
After graduating from her high school, BG began a college basketball career at Baylor University, a private Baptist university in Texas (Waco). During her college career, Brittney Griner broke incredible records, for example in November, BG became the seventh player in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to achieve a dunk in a college game.
As a sophomore, she received first-team All-American honors after averaging 23 points per game, including a career-high 40 points against Green Bay in the Sweet 16. During her junior days, she averaged 23.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 5 blocks per game, she blocked more shots than any other female Division I team and was named AP Player of the Year.
She became the seventh player to dunk during a women’s college basketball game, as well as the only second woman to dunk twice in a single college game. BG also recorded her second and third dives of her college career in a lopsided 99-18 victory against Texas State University.
In 2010, Baylor entered the NCAA Tournament as the fourth seed and Griner set a tournament record with 14 blocked shots in a 49–33 victory against the Georgetown Hoyas. She became the first female college basketball player of 2012 and the most outstanding player of the last four.
7. Top pick in the WNBA draft:
Brittany Griner began her professional career in 2013 after being selected by the Phoenix Mercury as the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft for what would be an incredibly successful rookie season – nominated in the top five rookies, she was outplayed in the quest for Rookie of the Year by Elena Delle Donne.
In her first game against the Chicago Sky, she became the first player in WNBA history to be dunked twice in a game, but her team barely reached the play-offs.
Griner was soon named a WNBA star, she, however, missed the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game as a result of a right knee injury she sustained and was replaced by Tina Thompson. With the combination of Candice Dupree, Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi, the Mercury had an incredible 2014 season setting the WNBA record for most wins in a regular season.
After Griner’s rookie contract expired in 2017, she re-signed with Mercury on a multi-year deal and has remained with the team ever since. In addition to college and the WNBA, Brittney Griner has also played for the United States basketball team. In 2011, she spent two weeks playing for the US National Team as part of their training tour of Europe under coach Geno Auriemma.
8. She got her first Olympic medal in 2016 and once again in the 2020 Games:
She was also on the 2012 United States Women’s Olympic Basketball Team shortlist, but was unable to participate in the Olympics due to her school schedule and some family challenges. Four years later (2016), she played with the US Women’s Olympic Basketball Team at the Summer Olympics and earned her first Olympic medal after they defeated Spain 101–72.
9. Brittney Griner is exceptionally adept at using her height to her advantage:
Basketball players tend to be very tall and Brittney Griner who stands at 6 feet 9 inches off the ground with an 88-inch wingspan has an exceptional athletic build.
During her sophomore year, she began practicing with the boys’ basketball team to build her leg strength in preparation and preparation for learning to dunk.
Brittney Griner wears a men’s shoe size 17 but she’s actually one of the tallest female basketball players in the world.
Interestingly, the only international players surpassing her height are Allyssa DeHaan, who stands at 6ft 9in (2.06m), Heidi Gillingham at 6ft 10in (2.08m), the late Margo Dydek, who stood at 7 feet 2 inches (2.18 m), and the late Sue Geh, at 2.06 meters (6 feet 9 inches).
10. What is Brittney Griner’s salary? What is Brittney Griner’s net worth?
As of 2020, Brittney has reportedly earned $5,000 in salary. On top of that, her net worth is over $3 million. She is known for her playing style and techniques.
In addition to playing in the WNBA, Griner takes the offseason to play for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg, where salaries are higher than in the United States where she earns about $227,900 after becoming champion in Russia in two consecutive seasons. Following her arrest, her income and net worth would have taken a sudden plunge.
11. Who is Brittney Griner playing for?
Griner plays for the WNBA team, Phoenix Mercury. She has been a part of the team since 2013. After being selected by the Mercury, Griner was named to the All-Star Game in her first season. Since then she has seven WNBA All-Star nominations and is a two-time scoring champion in 2017 and 2018. She has been named to the WNBA First Team three times and to the Second Team three times.
In 2012 she was named Player of the Year and has a WNBA title with Mercury in 2014. Additionally, she is a six-time WNBA All-Star and a two-time WNBA scoring champion.
Her great moment earned her to be part of the United States team that won two gold medals at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in addition to two World Cup golds in 2014 and 2018.
She is one of the most decorated players in the WNBA who has also played for international clubs such as WCBA team Zhejiang Golden Bulls and Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg.
12. Suspension for domestic violence:
In August 2013, she went public with her relationship with Tulsa Shock player Glory Johnson but within a year they accused each other of domestic abuse with Griner pleading guilty, before both went through marital mediation in April 2014. Police had broken into their Arizona home to break up a fight between them.
Her ex-wife Glory Johnson was pregnant with twins after Griner filed for divorce on the grounds of fraud and duress. BG revealed that she has no biological connection to the twins and that Johnson had become pregnant through IVF treatment with her eggs and a sperm donation. The divorce came in June 2016.
Both players were suspended for the first seven games of the 2015 season by the WNBA. They married in Arizona in May 2015. On June 6, 2015, Brittney Griner announced that she had filed for divorce after 29 days of marriage and 2 days after announcing her wife’s pregnancy with twins.
13. Where is Brittney Griner now?
Detention for drugs:
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained at a Moscow airport after vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil were allegedly found in her luggage, which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, if Brittney Griner is found guilty.
Russian detention of Brittney Griner extended by a month:
The two-time Olympic gold medalist, Griner, was detained at a Moscow airport following the alleged discovery of vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil in her luggage. As of May 2022, WNBA star Brittney Griner’s pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by a month despite being detained for almost three months.
The administration of US President Joe Biden says Griner is being unfairly detained. WNBA and US officials have worked for her release, with no visible progress. Russian authorities have described Griner’s case as a criminal offense, without making any political association. But the case comes amid the Russian war in Ukraine that has brought US-Russian relations to their lowest level since the Cold War.
Brittney will not be released anytime soon because the Russians may view Griner as a potential party to conduct an exchange like last month. Despite the tensions, Russia and the United States carried out an unexpected prisoner switch of prisoners— swapping former Marine Trevor Reed for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot serving a 20-year federal sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States.
Still, her attorney, Alexander Boykov, believes the relatively short extension could indicate Griner’s case could soon go to trial.
The change in status places this case under the control of the department’s Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, who is responsible for negotiating the release of hostages and Americans deemed wrongfully detained.
Also working on the case now is a center run by Bill Richardson, the former US ambassador to the United Nations who helped secure the release of multiple hostages and detainees, including Reed.
It is not entirely clear why the US government, which for weeks had been more reserved in its approach, reclassified Griner’s detention as unjust. But according to federal law, there are a series of factors that intervene in that characterization, such as the suspicion that the arrest has as its main reason the condition of US citizenship or when the detainee has been denied due process.
In addition to Griner, another American considered wrongfully detained in Russia is Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan. Whelan was arrested in December 2018 while attending a friend’s wedding and was later sentenced to 16 years in prison on espionage-related charges that his family says are false.
The new WNBA season begins without Brittney Griner:
The league will pay tribute to the stellar Phoenix player with the initials BG and her number (42) on all the boards. As time has flown by, the new season begins in May 2022 with the worrying shadow of the arrest in Russia of Brittney Griner, one of the great figures of the league. The new season began with the intention of increasing its business and with the pending task of improving the conditions of the players.
Twelve teams will face each other to see who is the heir to the Chicago Sky, who became champions last season by precisely defeating Griner’s Phoenix Mercury. Waiting to see how her situation is resolved, the WNBA will pay tribute to Griner with the initials BG and her number (42) on all courts during a course in which the league has open fronts in offices and issues to be resolved in their business strategy.