Brittney Griner is who we all have been talking about in the last few days. It hasn’t been surprising at all, considering she just returned from Russia after serving 10 months in prison.
US officials: Russia frees WNBA player Brittney Griner in prisoner swap, with US releasing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. pic.twitter.com/JEsGaOfFiu
— ESPN (@espn) December 8, 2022
For those who don’t know, the Phoenix Mercury star was detained in Russia after officials caught her with vape cartridges in her luggage. The issue was that they contained hash oil, a form of cannabis, which is banned in Russia. Her release has brought plenty of controversy to the country. And it seems like Brittney‘s life and career as a whole has been brought to light.
Her childhood: Where is Brittney Griner from?
Brittney Yvette Griner was born on October 18th in Houston, Texas. Her parents, Raymond Griner and Sandra Griner welcomed her into the world, along with Shkera, Pier, and Decarlo. Brittney is the youngest of them all. The Griner family stayed in Houston for most of their youngest daughter’s childhood. It was where Brittney attended high school as well.
Griner went to Teague Middle School, where she played volleyball. She has mentioned to the Texas Monthly in the past, “I played volleyball and soccer in Humble. Because of my height, I played on the front line on the volleyball team, and I was the goalie on the soccer team.” Brittney attended Nimitz High School, which is located in Irving, Texas.
The center took the first step in her basketball career at Nimitz. It wasn’t until her freshman year that Brittney took basketball seriously. She has surprisingly claimed that she didn’t think basketball could be her sport in eighth grade. She played varsity basketball in junior and senior grade at Nimitz. Brittney averaged about 26.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. It looks like she had the potential to be a prodigy from day one.
In high school, Brittney wanted to train the strength and power in her legs, which was when she decided to train with a football coach. The reason for this would be so that she could learn how to dunk. Now, we know how much of a great dunker Brittney is in the WNBA, and it seems like that was where it all started. Ultimately, it worked out for Brittney in high school.
She has a compilation of her best dunks in high school, which has accumulated more than 6 million views. The video released was 15 years ago.
shaq and I #throwback ! pic.twitter.com/obTVrWs0
— Brittney Griner (@_BrittneyGriner) December 19, 2011
According to various reports, Shaquille O’Neal, a legendary dunker, agreed to meet her after seeing the video. In 2011, an account with Brittney’s name posted an image of the basketball player with Shaq.
Where did Brittney Griner go to college?
Before we take a look at Brittney’s college career, there is an interesting fact about her life in Houston. The city’s former mayor Bill White once declared May 7th, 2009 as the “Brittney Griner Day”, who was a senior in high school at the time. This was the year when she made 52 dunks in just 32 games. Truth be told, it looked like she had a bright career at the end of high school, which she eventually had.
Griner stayed in Texas for college, when she decided to go to Baylor University from 2009 to 2013. But it took her until 2019 to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering the fact that she has been in the WNBA for almost a decade now.
Judging from her high school and college statistics, it looks like Brittney has always been an elite scorer. At Baylor, she averaged 22.0 points, together with 8.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 142 games. In her freshman year of college, Brittney found it easy to set the NCAA all-time record for most blocks in a single season. She blocked a staggering 223 shots that season.
Griner became a part of the All-American First Team in her sophomore year at Baylor. She became a crucial part of Baylor’s history, let alone just in sports. Together with the most blocks in a season, Brittney also holds the NCAA record for most blocks with 748, in both men and women categories. Her best year came in the 2011-12 college season, when she helped Baylor win the NCAA championship.
That season, Brittney put up 929 points, 379 rebounds, and 206 blocks in total. It looks like she knew how to make best use of her height at such a young age. In 2013, Brittney announced herself to the WNBA.
Who does Griner play for in the WNBA?
In the 2013 WNBA Draft, the Phoenix Mercury drafted Griner as the 1st overall pick. She became one of the tallest players to play in the WNBA, at 6 feet 9 in. We all knew that she had a knack for dunking, but she proved it once again in her first game in the WNBA. She became the first player in the league to dunk twice in a single game.
People might wonder why dunks in the WNBA are a huge deal. The main reason for that would be the average height in the WNBA. The average height in the women’s league is about 6 feet roughly. The average height of an NBA player is 6 feet 6 in or 6 feet 7 in. The point to remember is that the rim is placed at 10 feet in both the WNBA and NBA. Despite the height disadvantage, women are still amazing dunkers of the ball.
That will be one way to describe Brittney. Over the years, dunking has been one of the ways she has expressed her abilities on the court. With that said, a dunk was the first move she pulled when she set foot on a basketball court for the first time in 10 months after being released from Russia.
Despite being one of the best players in the WNBA, Brittney has managed to only win one WNBA championship. That came when the Phoenix Mercury beat the Chicago Sky in the 2014 WNBA Finals to win the WNBA championship. Brittney seemed to have enjoyed that one massively, together with Dania Taurasi.
In the WNBA, Brittney has 7x Defensive All-Team to her name, along with 1 All-Rookie, 6x All-WNBA, and 2x Defensive Player of the Year. When it comes to numbers, Griner has done exceptionally well too. In 254 regular-season games, she averaged 17.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.
That’s not all for her achievements in women’s basketball. Brittney also has two Olympic Gold Medals to her name, together with two FIBA Women’s World Cup medals. Brittney made her Olympics debut in 2016, in Rio. Four years later, she won her second Gold Medal with Team USA in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Her World Cup triumphs came in 2014 and 2018.
Brittney has been one of the greatest players in women’s basketball in America’s history. After her release this year, her commitment and love for the country have been questioned plenty of times. However, she hasn’t replied as of now, and we can expect her to do so very soon. With that said, the entire country would be glad that it has Brittney back safe and sound.
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