PHOENIX – 2014 WNBA Champion, 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and three-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner today signed a new multi-year contract with the three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury, the team has announced.
“Brittney Griner is the present and the future of the WNBA and we are fortunate to guarantee she continues her growth here in Phoenix,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “Building a championship team starts on the defensive end and this move keeps the best rim-protector in the history of the women’s game in a Mercury uniform for the forseeable future. Griner has changed the way the WNBA game is played, she has rewritten record books in just four years, and she is already a champion. Most importantly, BG is a part of our family, who is loved by her teammates and who keeps our locker room fun and light. She puts her heart into everything she cares about, on and off the court, and we are thrilled to keep her in Phoenix.”
TEAM-CHANGER: In just four seasons since being selected by Phoenix with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, Griner owns three All-Star appearances (2013, 2014, 2015; no All-Star Game held in 2016 due to Olympics), four trips to the postseason, four appearances in the WNBA Semifinals (formerly conference finals), one Finals appearance, and the 2014 WNBA title. Since drafting Griner, the Mercury has compiled a regular season record of 84-52 (.618), the second-best in the WNBA in that span (Minnesota), including back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in franchise history. Phoenix won a WNBA-record 29 games in 2014, and then won 20 games in 2015 despite playing without Diana Taurasi. Griner owns 13 playoff victories in just four seasons and has advanced in the playoffs seven times (single-elimination or series win).
In four seasons with Griner anchoring the Mercury defense, Phoenix has led the league in blocked shots the last three seasons (2014-16), finished in the top-four in field goal percentage defense three times (1st in 2014), and finished in the top-four in scoring defense twice.
RECORD-BOOK CHANGER: In addition to team accomplishments, Griner’s individual accolades in a Mercury uniform have piled up. In four seasons has twice been named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year (2014, 2015), the first Mercury player ever to win the award and first since Tamika Catchings to do so in consecutive seasons. Already, BG owns the WNBA records for blocks in a single-game (11), blocks in a playoffs game (11), blocks in a single-season (129), single-season block average (4.04), and career block average (3.49). She has led the league in blocked shots in each of her four professional seasons, and her averages in 2013 (3.00), 2014 (3.79), 2015 (4.04) and 2016 (3.15) represent four of the best seven seasons in WNBA history.
In just 121 career games, Griner owns 422 career blocks, ninth-most in WNBA history. She is the only player in WNBA history to average 3.00 blocks or more in each of her first four seasons, a feat not seen in the NBA since Shawn Bradley (1993-97). She became the fastest player in WNBA history to reach 400 blocks (115 games), something only accomplished in NBA annals by Manute Bol, David Robinson and Mark Eaton.
A 2014 All-WNBA First Team and 2015 All-WNBA Second Team selection, Griner owns career averages of 14.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.49 blocks, and her career 56.3-percent shooting is fourth-best in the WNBA history.
GAME-CHANGER: In the 20-year history of the WNBA, there have been 14 regular-season dunks and Griner owns eight of those, not including two All-Star Game dunks (2014, 2015), and the only playoff dunk in league history (2014). Griner is the only player to dunk in a WNBA game since she came into the league.
One of the game’s most decorated athletes, Griner’s non-WNBA accolades include a 2016 Olympic Gold Medal with Team USA, a EuroLeague title with UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia, and the 2012 NCAA National Championship with Baylor. Griner was a back-to-back winner of the Naismith Trophy, Wade Trophy, Wooden Award and AP National Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013.
Off the court, Griner has dedicated her time to causes close to her heart, volunteering with Phoenix organizations dedicated to providing safe spaces for gay youth in Phoenix, and in 2016 started “BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive” which collected hundreds of pairs of shoes that Griner herself helped distribute to homeless men and women around the Valley. The 2014 grand marshal of the Phoenix Pride Parade, Griner donates her time as well as autographed merchandise to help the Mercury organization raise money for causes important to her, including in the aftermath of the tragic attack in Orlando in 2016.