Best Female Athlete (2013)

Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury

Brittney Griner's a monster! She's a 6-foot-8, 207-pound chick taken first in the WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury who could play in an NBA front court. She's one hell of a basketball player, natch, because professional teams don't consider you the best college basketball player in the nation unless you can deliver. And deliver she did for Baylor University in Texas, which she led to the women's college Division I national championship in 2012, scoring 26 points, hauling in 13 rebounds, and blocking five shots to trounce Notre Dame by almost 20 points. To say she was the most dominant player in college is a huge understatement — her 2,000 points and 500 blocked shots are unmatched in NCAA history.

In her first game for the Mercury, Griner dunked the ball twice for an WNBA record. Hell, this is women's basketball — her two dunks made her just the third pro woman ever to dunk! Which means Griner may be the lady who puts the women's game on the freakin' map. It's hard to fathom nowadays, but there was a time when the NBA prohibited dunking. When the rule changed, the men's game took off in popularity — there's nothing more exciting than a slam. And Griner will be rattling rims with regularity if she can stay healthy. A sprained knee in early July kept her out of the Mercury lineup and made a trip to the league All-Star game impossible. Griner may be a game-changer in more ways than just on the court: Gigantic firms are talking to her about endorsement deals, a rarity among female athletes, especially in team sports. We just wish the Suns had drafted her, which isn't farfetched at all: Before she went with the pro gals, Mark Cuban said he'd consider giving Griner a go in the NBA with his Dallas Mavericks. Apparently, the excitable owner thought her size-17 shoe could kick ass in either league.


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