Brittney Griner is one of the most dominant players in women’s basketball. She stands 6’8″ tall, and her wingspan is an impressive 7’4″. She was the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury and has since won two WNBA Championships with the team.
She began playing basketball at a young age and became a star player. She played basketball at Nimitz High School in Houston. As a senior, she was named a McDonald’s All-American and the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year. Her inspirational story has recently had a dark turn.
National High School Star
Griner went on to play college basketball at Baylor University. She was a three-time All-American and led the Bears to a National Championship in 2012. She also set the NCAA record for most blocks in a single season (223) and career (695).
She was a dominant player in college, setting the NCAA Division I record for blocks in a season (223) and career (616). She was also named the National Defensive Player of the Year three times. It was clear from an early age that she would be destined for greatness.
Bullied as a Gay Teenager
During her rookie season in the WNBA, Griner publicly came out as gay in 2013. She has said that she dealt with a lot of bullying growing up because of her sexuality. Aside from her immense talent, it was another reason her story is inspirational.
“I was probably in middle school the first time I got called ‘dyke’ and all that,” Griner told ESPN in 2013. “It was just little comments here and there. But once I got to high school, it picked up. And then social media came out, which just took it to a new level.”
The Impressive WNBA Record
Griner holds the WNBA record for most dunks in a career. In June 2013, Griner made history when she became the first player to dunk twice in a WNBA game. She did it again in July 2016. Griner is married to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson. The couple married in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 8, 2016.
From her early days playing basketball to her current status as a WNBA superstar, Brittney Griner has had an incredible journey. That journey has recently become incredible in much more sinister ways due to a trip to an ill-fated trip to Russia.
Stuck in a Russian Jail
In February, Griner was arrested in Russia due to drug-related offenses. She was found with a small amount of cannabis oil in her possession which is illegal in the country. Her trip coincided badly with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions the USA placed on Russia.
Her wife called her a “political pawn,” but sadly, Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison. There has been talking of a potential prisoner swap, but sadly these have yet to come to fruition. The talented basketball star remains in a Russian jail.