*Brittney Griner will start her professional basketball career as an openly gay woman after coming out in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
“It wasn’t too difficult,” said the Baylor University dunk enthusiast and new Phoenix Mercury player, when asked if her decision to come out was difficult. “I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that. I’ve always been open about who I am and my sexuality.”
Griner – interviewed with her fellow top draft picks, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne – said she wants youth to know that it’s okay to be who they are.
Diggins and Delle Done both chimed in and said that they support openly gay players.
“In our sport, we’re fine with it,” Delle Donne said. “We’re all friends, and I want everybody to be who they are. You shouldn’t have to lie, that’s not fair. Hopefully the men can one day adopt that same attitude that we have.”
Added Diggins: “We like her [Griner] because she’s herself. We don’t care. It has nothing to do with basketball or how you play the game. I think that people need to realize that.”
Griner, a 6-foot-8 phenom, finished as the second all-time scorer in women’s NCAA history, with 3,283 points. She is the top shot-blocker ever, shattering both the men’s and women’s college marks with 748. She also had a record 18 dunks — including 11 this season.
Delle Donne, the second draft pick is headed to the Chicago Sky and Diggins (third pick) will be joining the Tulsa Shock.