Brittney Griner’s story always transcended sport. She’s a real American trailblazer

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07/14/2022

The images of Brittney Griner from 15 April 2013 are striking. It was the night of the annual WNBA draft, and Griner was beaming from ear to ear. For months, everyone expected her to be chosen first by the Phoenix Mercury. But when WNBA commissioner Laurel J Richie called Griner’s name from the podium as the top overall pick, there was a separate and nearly tangible anticipation in the room. Because in that moment, Griner became the most prominent openly gay basketball player in the world. She had always wanted to be upfront about her sexual orientation. It wasn’t really a matter of deciding when to come out publicly, but rather, a question of when those in power would step out of her way.

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