We're seeing a star player making a stand, and we haven't always seen that in the league."A NEW TYPE OF PLAYERGriner offers a brand of athleticism never seen before in the WNBA.In the Mercury's season-opening game against the Chicago Sky — Griner's first in the league — she threw down two power dunks in the most-viewed WNBA telecast on ESPN2 in nine years.On the lower right side of her back, she has a tattoo featuring two skulls with the words, "laugh now, cry later," a phrase that she turned to during her most difficult time.When she plays, Griner no longer sports long sleeves to cover up her tattoos as she did in college. She's not trying to be an actress, she's not trying to be a rapper.
No one's telling you what to do, nothing's planned out.
She's done hiding — both on and off the court."There's something to be said about being comfortable in your own skin," Mercury teammate and 10-year WNBA veteran Diana Taurasi says. She's Brittney Griner, who plays basketball at the highest level, and off the court can get along with anyone."She's really re-energized the WNBA and revived the whole city (of Phoenix) with women's basketball."CHANGING THE LEAGUEOn the court, Griner is a shot-blocking, dunking, emotional superstar. I don't know what sex they are, but I say they're both girls.
Off it, she's an active longboarder, she listens to Jimi Hendrix before games and Trace Adkins after, she'll soon be wearing men's clothing as part of a multi-year endorsement deal with Nike, and she has two pet snakes, Audii and Sage."I think snakes are misunderstood," she says. Audii is gray and a bit bigger, and Sage is red and yellow but smaller.
PHOENIX — At a downtown tattoo parlor, Brittney Griner is cautiously picking out her next choice of body ink."I'm getting this next one on my neck," Griner says, showing off a wide array of current tattoos decorating her upper body.
FOR THE WIN: Griner's monster dunks in WNBA debut As the tattoo artist shows Griner a sketch, the 6-8 women's basketball star calls over to her girlfriend for approval.