Black History 365: Brittney Griner

We are highlighting examples of Black excellence throughout the year! Feel free to send us suggestions!

Brittney Yevette Griner (born October 18, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).[1] She played college basketball for the Baylor Lady Bears in Waco, Texas.[2][3] She is the only NCAA basketball player to both score 2,000 points and block 500 shots.[4] In 2012, the three-time All-American was named the AP Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

In 2009, Griner was named the nation’s No. 1 high school women’s basketball player by[5] She was selected to the 2009 Phoenix Mercury All-American basketball team.[6] In 2012, she received the Best Female Athlete ESPY Award. In 2013, Griner signed an endorsement deal with Nike.[7] Standing 6 ft 9 in (206 cm) tall, Griner wears a men’s US size 17 shoe and has an arm span of 87.5 in (222 cm).[8][5]

Griner was on the United States women’s Olympic team in 2016, and led them to victory at the Rio Olympics.[9] In 2021, Griner was named to the United States women’s national team for the 2020 Olympics, where she won her second gold medal.[10]

On February 17, 2022, Griner was detained for allegedly bringing vape cartridges containing hashish oil into Sheremetyevo International Airport and is currently in Russian custody.[11] Some US officials have expressed concern that Russia may be using her as leverage in response to the Western sanctions imposed against Russia during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[12][13]