PHOENIX – The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury have re-signed center Brittney Griner, the team announced today.
Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman: “It’s a great day for all of us to announce that Brittney Griner has officially signed to play for the Mercury in 2023. We missed BG every day that she was gone and, while basketball was not our primary concern, her presence on the floor, in our locker room, around our organization, and within our community was greatly missed. We will continue to use the resources of our organization to support her, on and off the floor, and we are thrilled for her that she gets to return to basketball, which she loves so dearly. This is a special signing and today is a special day for all of us.”
Mercury President of Business Operations Vince Kozar: “I do not think any of us will forget where we were on Dec. 8 when we heard BG was coming home or on Dec. 15 when she announced she intended not only to play basketball in 2023 but that it would be for the Mercury. And I know none of us will ever forget what it will feel like to welcome her back onto her home floor on May 21. To know BG is to love and appreciate BG, and we can’t wait to show her that in person with thousands and thousands of her biggest supporters exactly three months from today at our Welcome Home Opener.”
Since being selected with the No. 1 overall pick by Phoenix in the 2013 WNBA Draft, Griner has been named to the WNBA’s Top 25 Players of All Time list, owns eight All-Star game selections (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022; no All-Star Game held in 2016 due to Olympics; none in 2020 due to COVID-19; named an honorary All-Star in 2022), two WNBA scoring titles (2017, 2019), two WNBA Defensive Player of the Year awards (2014, 2015), six All-WNBA Team selections (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021), seven All-WNBA Defensive Team nods (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021) and 13 career Player of the Week awards. She has appeared in the postseason in all nine of her WNBA seasons, including six trips to the WNBA Semifinals, two trips to the Finals, and won a championship in 2014. Griner is also a member of the exclusive club of 11 women who have won an Olympic, World Cup, WNBA and NCAA title.
In Griner’s most recent season in 2021, she led the league in efficiency rating (26.0), finished second in scoring average (20.5), second in field-goal percentage (57.5), first in blocks per game (1.9), and averaged a franchise-record and career-high 9.5 rebounds (6th-WNBA). Her dominant campaign included a single-season franchise-record 16 double-doubles (adding to her franchise-record 57 career double-doubles).
After averaging 20+ points in three consecutive seasons from 2017-19, Griner did so again for the fourth time in five seasons in 2021 (most 20+ points per game seasons in the WNBA since 2017). Griner was the only player in the league in 2021 to average 20+ points, 9+ rebounds and 1.9+ blocks per game. Since Griner was drafted in 2013, no WNBA player has put up such numbers in a full season.
During the 2021 campaign, Griner recorded both her 4,000th career point (June 3) and her 700th career block (Aug. 17), becoming just the third player in WNBA history with 4,000 career points and 700 blocks (Lisa Leslie, Sylvia Fowles).
In just nine years, Griner has taken over virtually every team and league record for blocked shots. The Baylor product 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 (3.0). She has led the league in blocks per game in eight of her nine professional seasons, a WNBA record, and her averages in 2013 (3.00), 2014 (3.79), 2015 (4.04) and 2016 (3.15) represent four of the best nine seasons in WNBA history. She currently ranks fourth on the WNBA’s all-time blocks list with 716 in 254 career games.
Griner has also changed the landscape of the WNBA as the only player to dunk in a regular season or playoff game since turning pro. The 6-9 center owns 17 career regular season dunks throughout her 254-game career, one playoff dunk and five All-Star Game dunks. Entering the 2023 WNBA season, the rest of the league has combined for only four regular season dunks in the WNBA’s 26 seasons (Candace Parker, 2; Lisa Leslie, 1; Awak Kuier, 1). Her five dunks during the 2021 season was a single-season career best.
With Team USA, the two-time Olympic gold medalist (2016, 2020) scored 30 points in the 2020 Tokyo gold medal game against Japan, joining Lisa Leslie as the only USA Women’s National Team members to score 30+ points in an Olympic game. Additionally, Griner is a two-time gold medalist with Team USA at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Championship (2014, 2018) and was named the MVP of the gold medal game in 2018.
The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury return to Footprint Center this summer, tipping off the season with on Sunday, May 21 against the Chicago Sky in the Fry’s Food Stores Welcome Home Opener.