Brittney Griner Becomes First Openly Gay Athlete to Land Nike Endorsement

The WNBA newcomer will model men's clothing for the brand.

Posted: 06/06/2013 10:35 AM EDT
Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner has been one to watch since she made headlines during her time with Baylor University not only for being amazing on the court and being the number-one pick in the WNBA draft, but also for being open about her homosexuality. Now the Phoenix Mercury player is busting barriers once more with her Nike endorsement, the first granted to an openly gay professional athlete. The 22-year-old's contract will earn her from $5,000 to $15,000 a year and allow her to model men's clothing for the brand, including items from its skateboarding line Nike SB.

"It clicked for me," Griner tells ESPN. "I used to do the whole baggy, hard-core, I'm-a-boy look. Then I went through a preppy phase. Now I have the athletic, bow-tie look. I found my style."

Griner is not one to conform to tradition and likens wearing a dress to being trapped "in shackles and handcuffs and a straitjacket," so the endorsement deal allows her to stay true to her personal style. After a college career in which she wasn't allowed to be fully open about her sexuality, it's great that she's finally free to be herself and has been reaping success along the way.

"I am 100-percent happy," she says. "When I was at Baylor, I wasn't fully happy because I couldn't be all the way out. It feels so good saying it: I am a strong, Black, lesbian woman. Every single time I say it, I feel so much better."


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 (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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