WNBA #1 pick Britney Griner has been hearing the “man jokes” since she was a high school sensation making dunk videos with Texas’ best dunkers like Mr 720 himself. She held her own but that’s because she is a he and he’s 6’8 right? Then she went on to college to dominate and set records and when her college career was over she set the record straight with the announcement that she was gay. It carried 1% of the shock value of Jason Collins’ announcement because people have been joking and assuming she was gay for years.
Then came the 2013 WNBA draft. Griner, wearing a “tomboyish” looking white suit tailored by openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Griner was selected as the #1 pick. No surprise. Then Nike selected her to be a clothing model. No surprise again. The clothes Nike selected her to wear are male clothes. That is a shocker and groundbreaker.
Kate Fagan of ESPN wrote this about the deal.
She will wear apparel branded as menswear, including the skateboarding line Nike SB, and she is allowed to pursue nontraditional marketing deals with outside companies. (Griner recently signed a one-year deal to play this winter in hoops-crazed China, where big-name female stars earn about $1 million a season, nearly 10 times the maximum WNBA salary.)
“She can change the way people think,” says Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent at Wasserman Media Group. “And her success will mean society is working a little better for everyone.”
Androgynous models are coveted in high-end fashion, but the trend toward gender-neutral clothing has only just begun to reach the sports world, with NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade blurring the lines in their tight jeans and fitted sweaters. No sports apparel company has taken it a step further and expressly targeted the gender-fluid crowd — and whether Nike is willing to ride the edge with Griner remains to be seen. “We can’t get into specifics,” says Nike spokesman Brian Strong, “but it’s safe to say we jumped at the opportunity to work with her because she breaks the mold.”
I don’t care what she wears and who she dates but I’ve said since the first day we saw her dunking in that Houston gym with Air Up There that she has a date with destiny and destiny isn’t on the ground but with the stars in the air up there.
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