Suddenly, the most recognizable women's basketball player can't stop gushing about the most recognizable men's basketball player."I love Le Bron (James). "Ever since he came into the league, he's just had that graceful power.
He makes his teammates better, his basketball IQ is through the roof.
Since being selected by the Phoenix Mercury as the top pick in April's WNBA draft, Griner is getting a chance to do something that has eluded her for so long.
She's finally free to be herself."My life is definitely different than it was in college," says Griner.
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.
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.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.There's a lot of 'she has to change the league.' But I just feel like if I play ball the way I know how, I can help make the league more exciting."The Mercury started the season 0-3 despite being picked as the favorite to win the WNBA title in 2013 — showing that Griner's impact on the game won't simply happen overnight."As far as changing the game, how the game is played, I don't see that," New York Liberty coach and former NBA big man Bill Laimbeer says. "She runs like a deer in transition, her shot-blocking ability is so huge. After the season, like most WNBA players, Griner plans to continue playing overseas. HAVING A VOICEAs the WNBA pushes its new star farther into the spotlight, Griner's been slowly answering the question: Who is Brittney Griner?But it's going to take time for her to adjust and dominate. She signed a multi-year deal with Zheijiang Chouzhou of China, with plans to play from October through February. "Most athletes act all unhuman and you can't relate to them. During a game of NBA 2K13, Griner is quick to pick the Miami Heat as her team."I want to get the full sleeve like he has," she says.