kids encyclopedia robot

Brittney Griner facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner 3 (cropped).jpg
Griner in 2019
No. 42 –
Position Center
League WNBA
Personal information
Born (1990-10-17) October 17, 1990 (age 31)
Houston, Texas
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 9 in (206 cm)
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–present Phoenix Mercury
2013–2014 Zhejiang Golden Bulls
2014–2019 UMMC Ekaterinburg
Career highlights and awards
  • WNBA champion (2014)
  • 7× WNBA All-Star (2013–2015, 2017–2019, 2021)
  • 2× WNBA scoring champion (2017, 2019)
  • 7× WNBA blocks leader (2013–2019)
  • WNBA Peak Performer (2017, 2019)
  • 2× All-WNBA First Team (2014, 2019)
  • 3× All-WNBA Second Team (2015, 2017, 2018)
  • 2x WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (2014, 2015)
  • 3× WNBA All-Defensive First Team (2014, 2015, 2018)
  • 3× WNBA All-Defensive Second Team (2016, 2017, 2019)
  • WNBA All-Rookie Team (2013)
  • 3× Russian National League champion (2015–2017)
  • 2× EuroLeague champion (2016, 2018)
  • Russian Cup winner (2017)
  • NCAA champion (2012)
  • NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (2012)
  • AP Player of the Year (2012)
  • 2× First-team All-American – AP (2011, 2012)
  • Honda Sports Award (2012)
  • Second-team All-American – AP (2010)
  • 2× Wade Trophy Player of the Year (2012, 2013)
  • 3× Big 12 Player of the Year (2011–2013)
  • 4× Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year (2010–2013)
  • McDonald's All-American (2009)
  • WBCA High School Player of the Year (2009)
Stats at
Stats at

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). She played college basketball for the Baylor Lady Bears in Waco, Texas. She is the only NCAA basketball player to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots. 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 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).

In 2009, Griner was named the nation's #1 high school women's basketball player by Griner was selected to the 2009 Phoenix Mercury All-American basketball team. In 2012, she received the Best Female Athlete ESPY Award. Griner was on the USA Olympic Women's team in 2016, where she helped lead them to victory at the 2016 Summer Olympics. In 2013, Griner signed an endorsement deal with Nike. In June 2021, it was announced that Griner would be competing as part of Team USA Women’s Basketball at the 2020 Olympics.

Early life

Griner is the daughter of 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. Starting in her sophomore year, Griner practiced with the boys' basketball team, and worked with a Nimitz football coach to develop her leg strength in preparation for learning to dunk. During her junior season, a YouTube video featuring her dunks was watched more than 2.7 million times, leading to a meeting with Shaquille O'Neal.

During her senior year, Griner led the Nimitz 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. Houston mayor Bill White declared May 7, 2009, Brittney Griner Day. On November 11, 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.

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.

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. On December 16, 2009, Griner recorded Baylor's first triple-double 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, and only the second woman to dunk twice in a single college game, making the second and third dunks of her college career in a lopsided 99–18 victory against Texas State University.

On March 3, 2010, Griner and Texas Tech player 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.

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. 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. Baylor reached the Final Four, before losing to eventual-champion UConn, 70–50. Griner was named an AP Second Team All-American.

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.

In her junior season, Griner averaged 23.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5 blocks per game. She blocked more shots than any other Division I women's team that season. Griner was named AP Player of the Year 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.

After winning the championship on April 3, 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.

Her college career came to an end in the 2013 NCAA women's basketball tournament when Baylor lost to the University of Louisville Cardinals in the sweet 16.

College statistics

NCAA championship
double-dagger NCAA record
2009–10 Baylor 35 35 33.5 .503 .000 .684 8.5 1.0 0.5 6.4 2.8 18.4
2010–11 Baylor 37 37 31.8 .543 .500 .777 7.8 1.4 0.4 4.6 2.1 23.0
2011–12† Baylor 40 40 32.7 .609 .500 .800 9.5 1.6 0.6 5.2 1.7 23.2
2012–13 Baylor 36 36 30.3 .607 .000 .712 9.4 2.4 0.7 4.1 1.9 23.8
Career 148 148 32.0 .569 .400 .747 8.8 1.6 0.5 5.1 1.4 22.2
Year Rebounds Blocks Points Notable stats.
Total Season high Total Season high Total Season high
2009–10 297 21 223double-dagger 14 644 34 double-daggerNCAA record for blocks in a season
2010–11 290 15 170 10 852 40
2011–12† 379 15 206 9 929 45
2012–13 339 15 149 7 858 50
Career 1,305 748double-dagger 3,283 double-daggerNCAA record for career blocks (men and women)

Professional career


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

The only international female players surpassing her height are the late Margo Dydek, at 7 feet 2 inches (2.18 m), the late Sue Geh, at 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 m) tall, Heidi Gillingham at 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 m) and Allyssa DeHaan at 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 m).


In the 2013 WNBA Draft, the Phoenix Mercury selected Griner as the first overall pick. Griner would flourish in her rookie season, being named a WNBA all-star and would be a dominant defensive force in the league, averaging 3.0 blocks per game. 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. She thus became the third WNBA player to dunk and first to do so twice in one game. Despite the All-Star vote, Griner missed the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game with a right knee injury, she was replaced by Tina Thompson.


In the 2014 season, Griner's stats would improve, as she averaged 15.6 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game and 3.7 blocks per game. On June 29, 2014, Griner had set a WNBA record with 11 blocks in a regular season game win against the Tulsa Shock, along with 21 points and 8 rebounds. 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. The 2014 season would be a historic season for the Mercury with the combination of Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Candice Dupree as the dominant Big 3 to carry the team plus the arrival of new head coach Sandy Brondello, the Mercury finished 29–5, setting the WNBA record for most wins in a regular season. They made it all the way to the WNBA finals and swept the Chicago Sky 3 games to 0, to capture the Mercury's third championship in franchise history. During the series, Griner set WNBA finals records in game 1 for most blocks in a game (8) and most blocks in a quarter (5).

Brittney Griner
Griner performing a layup in 2017


In the 2015 season, despite missing the first seven games due to a suspension stemming from her domestic violence case, Griner would have the most prolific defensive season in WNBA history, averaging a career high and WNBA record 4.0 blocks per game, surpassing Margo Dydek's record back in the 1998 season. Although the Mercury were playing without their all-star guard Diana Taurasi (who sat out the season to play overseas), the Mercury still made it to the playoffs. In the 2015 playoffs, Griner set a WNBA playoff record with 11 blocks (along with 18 points and 8 rebounds) in a game 1 victory against the Tulsa Shock, whom she also had 11 blocks against in a regular season game the year before. The Mercury would advance to the second round where they would get swept by the Minnesota Lynx who would win the championship that year.


In the 2016 season, with the return of Diana Taurasi, the Mercury had a more successful playoff run. En route to the playoffs, Griner averaged 14.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game and 3.1 blocks per game as the Mercury finished 16–18. During the season, Griner had recorded the sixth triple-double in WNBA history in a win against the Atlanta Dream where she had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks. With the WNBA's new playoff format in effect, the Mercury were the number 8 seed in the league as they faced the Indiana Fever in the first round. The Mercury upset the Fever in the first round elimination game, as Griner had 18 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. In the second round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the number 3 seeded New York Liberty, Griner had 22 points 10 rebounds and 4 blocks in the win. The Mercury advanced to the semifinals (the last round before the WNBA finals) against the championship defending Minnesota Lynx in a best-of-5 series but would get swept 3–0.

Griner and the Mercury guarding Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx in 2018


On March 12, 2017, Griner re-signed with the Mercury to a multi-year deal once her rookie contract expired. In 2017, Griner would have the best season of her career thus far. On June 7, 2017, Griner scored a career-high 38 points along with 9 rebounds in a 98–90 overtime win against the Indiana Fever. Griner would miss 8 games of the season and the 2017 WNBA All-Star Game due to an ankle and knee injury (replaced by Rebekkah Brunson), but finished off the season leading the league in scoring with 21.9 points per game and also lead the league in blocks for the fifth consecutive season. The Mercury would finish with an 18–16 record as the number 5 seed. In the first round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Seattle Storm 79–69, advancing to the second round. Griner scored 23 points along with 11 rebounds and 3 blocks in the win. In the second round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Connecticut Sun 88–83 and advanced to the semi-finals. Griner scored 26 points along with 9 rebounds in the win. In the semi-finals, the Mercury were eliminated by the Los Angeles Sparks in a 3-game sweep.


In 2018, Griner played all 34 games for the third time in her career. She was voted into the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game, making it her fifth all-star game appearance. On August 18, 2018, Griner scored a season-high 33 points along with 18 rebounds and 7 blocks in a 104–95 victory over the Atlanta Dream. This season was also her first season shooting from beyond the arc. Griner also led the league in blocks for the sixth consecutive year. The Mercury finished off the season 20–14 with the number 5 seed in the league. In the first round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Dallas Wings 101–83. Griner scored 17 points in the win. In the second round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Connecticut Sun 96–86, advancing to the semi-finals for the third year in a row, they would face off against the Seattle Storm. Down 2–0, the Mercury came back to tie up the series 2–2. In game 5, the Mercury lost 94–84, ending their season.


In 2019, Griner would be voted into the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game, making it her sixth career all-star game appearance. On August 25, 2019, Griner scored a season-high 34 points in a 94-86 loss to the Chicago Sky. By the end of the season, Griner led the league in the scoring for the second time in her career and would continue to lead the league in blocks for the seventh straight season. The Mercury finished with a 15-19 record and the number 8 seed. In the first round elimination game, the Mercury were eliminated 105-76 by the Chicago Sky in the first round elimination game. Griner left in the second half of the game with a knee injury.


In 2020, the season was delayed and shortened to 22 games in a bubble at IMG Academy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After 12 games played, it was announced that Griner had to leave the bubble for undisclosed personal reasons. Without Griner, the Mercury finished 13–9 as the number 5 seed. They would make it as far as the second round where they lost to the Minnesota Lynx in the elimination game.

National team

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. She averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a game with the USA team in Europe.

Griner was the sole player still playing in college on the 2012 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team finalists roster. 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.

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

In 2016, Griner played for the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team for the Summer Olympics and earned her first Olympic medal as they beat Spain 101–72 for the gold medal, becoming one of 11 players who have earned an Olympic gold medal, FIBA World Cup gold medal, WNBA title, and NCAA title, joining Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Asjha Jones, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Sheryl Swoopes, Diana Taurasi, and Kara Wolters on the list.

Griner was selected again for the US Olympic women's basketball team for the 2020 Olympics.


Griner plays overseas as well as in the WNBA. In the 2013–14 off-season, Griner played in China for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the WCBA where she signed a 4-month contract for $600,000 which was 12 times the amount she made in her rookie season with the Mercury. In the 2014–15 and 2015–16 off-seasons, Griner played in Russia for UMMC Ekaterinburg with teammate Diana Taurasi, winning back-to-back championships. As of August 2016, Griner re-signed with UMMC Ekaterinburg for the 2016–17 off-season. In 2017, Griner re-signed once again with UMMC Ekaterinburg for the 2017–18 off-season. In 2018, Griner returned to UMMC Ekaterinburg for a fifth stint in the 2018-19 off-season.


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, and was selected by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association as the 2009 State Farm/WBCA High School Player of the Year. Griner also won the 2013 ESPY Award for best female college athlete. She was the 2012 winner of the Honda Sports Award for basketball and the overall Honda-Broderick Cup winner for all sports. 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." 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.

Along with her other accolades, Griner is credited with bringing the women's game more attention due to her ability to dunk. She holds the NCAA record for dunks in a career with 18 total dunks. She passed Candace Parker as the all-time NCAA women's dunks leader.

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

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

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

Personal life

In an interview with on February 11, 2013, Griner publicly came out as a lesbian. She also revealed in the interview that she was bullied as a child. She said she is very passionate about working with children in order to bring attention to the issue of bullying, particularly against LGBT people. While Griner is pushing the envelope when it comes to societal standards for women and the LGBT community, she does not view her story as particularly earth-shattering. As she puts it, "People tell me I'm going to break the barrier and trailblaze. I just kind of look at it like, I'm just trying to help out, I'm just trying to make it not as tough for the next generation." In 2013, Griner was featured on the cover of ESPN Magazine. She appeared in "The Taboo Issue". She is pictured holding a snake, which is her favorite animal because they are "misunderstood". She says, "You just have to look at it in a different way."

Her endorsement deal with Nike was the first time the company had signed such a deal with an openly gay athlete. Griner continues to push back on traditional gender roles as she regularly models clothes branded as "menswear" for Nike. Nike spokesman Brian Strong said of signing Griner, "We can't get into specifics, but it's safe to say we jumped at the opportunity to work with her because she breaks the mold."

Griner had previously come out to her parents in high school, which her father did not accept gracefully, forcing her to live with an assistant coach for six weeks during her senior year. She would later write a memoir with Sue Hovey addressing bullying and self-acceptance, In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court, published in 2014.

On June 4, 2015, Griner and Johnson announced that Johnson was pregnant with twins. The following day, and less than a month of marriage, Griner filed for an annulment of the marriage. Griner has no biological connection to the twins. The couple's divorce was finalized in June 2016.

Career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high ° League leader
Denotes seasons in which Griner won a WNBA championship
double-dagger WNBA record


Regular season

2013 Phoenix 27 27 25.9 .556 .000 .724 6.3 1.0 0.4 3.0° 1.7 14.5
2014 Phoenix 34 34 30.7 .578 .000 .802 8.0 1.6 0.6 3.7° 1.9 15.6
2015 Phoenix 26 26 30.7 .565 .000 .773 8.1 1.3 0.3 4.0double-dagger 2.1 15.1
2016 Phoenix 34 34 29.2 .548 .000 .831 6.5 1.0 0.3 3.1° 2.0 14.5
2017 Phoenix 26 26 31.5 .577 .000 .812 7.6 1.9 0.6 2.5° 2.4 21.9
2018 Phoenix 34 34 32.6 .544 .250 .800 7.7 2.1 0.5 2.6° 2.3 20.5
2019 Phoenix 31 31 32.8 .564 .333 .808 7.2 2.4 0.7 2.0° 2.4 20.7°
2020 Phoenix 12 12 31.8 .497 .000 .809 7.5 3.0 0.3 1.8 2.5 17.7
Career 224 224 30.6 .557 .250 .799 7.4 1.7 0.5 2.9double-dagger 2.2 17.3


2013 Phoenix 5 5 26.6 .533 .000 .556 6.4 0.2 0.2 0.8 1.6 10.6
2014 Phoenix 7 7 31.0 .627 .000 .920 6.0 1.6 0.4 3.4° 1.8 16.7
2015 Phoenix 4 4 29.7 .583 .000 .885 8.0 1.3 0.7 4.5° 2.0 16.3
2016 Phoenix 5 5 31.2 .643 .000 .813 6.0 1.6 0.6 2.2 2.2 13.4
2017 Phoenix 5 5 36.8 .407 .000 .795 7.0 2.0 0.6 1.6 2.4 20.2
2018 Phoenix 7 7 36.4 .631 .000 .750 8.0 3.1 0.7 2.2 1.7 21.6
2019 Phoenix 1 1 13.8 .375 .000 .000 3.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.0 6.0
Career 34 34 31.7 .562 .000 .811 6.8 1.7 0.5 2.4 1.9 16.5
kids search engine
Brittney Griner Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.