All About Brittney Griner's Parents, Raymond and Sandra Griner

Raymond and Sandra Griner welcomed their daughter Brittney in 1990

<p>Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty, Brittney Griner/Facebook</p> Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury smiles during the game against the Los Angeles Sparks on May 19, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California; Brittney Griner with mom Sandra.

Brittney Griner's parents, Raymond and Sandra Griner, always knew she was destined for greatness.

"She ain't your ordinary teenaged girl," Raymond remarked when describing his daughter in a 2008 ESPN profile.

This proved true when Brittney became an NCAA champion in 2012 with the Baylor University women’s basketball team and was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. She followed that up with two Olympic gold medals, a WNBA championship, nine WNBA All-Star appearances and two WNBA scoring titles.

Still, her journey hasn't been without hardship. In February 2022, while en route to Russia to join the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team in the offseason, Griner was stopped at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport for possession of cannabis oil.

Russian law prohibits the use of the substance, and Griner was detained in a women’s penal colony. She was convicted of attempting to smuggle narcotics into Russia and received a nine-year prison sentence. After being detained for 10 months, Brittney was finally released in December 2022 in a prisoner swap orchestrated by the Biden administration.

Raymond expressed his relief after his daughter’s return to American soil. “I would say out of everything in my life that I’ve experienced, in my 73 years, this has been the most important thing to me,” he shared in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. “This is the most important thing and means the most to me because she’s my baby."

<p>Brittney Griner/Instagram</p> Brittney Griner as a child with her family.

Brittney Griner/Instagram

Brittney Griner as a child with her family.

After voicing his gratitude to the president and his staff, Raymond shared how his faith helped him get through the tough time.

"I had faith she was going to come home," he added. "I’m pretty religious. I believe in God. I just prayed a lot and put my faith in the Lord and turned it over to him."

From teaching their daughter to fix cars and sew to providing unwavering support during difficult periods, here’s everything to know about Brittney Griner's parents, Raymond and Sandra Griner.

They have four children

<p>Brittney Griner/Facebook</p> Brittney Griner as a child with her family.

Brittney Griner/Facebook

Brittney Griner as a child with her family.

After Raymond and Sandra met in their home state of Texas, they eventually married and welcomed two children together: daughters Pier and Brittney. They created a blended family with Raymond's older children from a previous marriage, son DeCarlo and daughter SheKera.

By the time Raymond and Sandra's youngest child, Brittney, was born in 1990, the family had settled in Houston’s Bellewood area, where they stayed until she was in the seventh grade, according to The New York Times Magazine.

The Phoenix Mercury star discussed their sibling dynamics in her 2014 memoir, In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court. She revealed that although they got along well, it was a different experience because of their age gaps.

“My brother, DeCarlo, is seventeen years older than me, and my sister SheKera is ten years older,” she wrote. “They have always been great to me, and we consider each other full blood, but it’s not like we were all running around the yard, playing games, living under the same roof.”

Brittney admitted that she and Pier, who is five years older, “could not be more different.”

“Pier was a total girly girl, and I was all rough-and-tumble," the basketball star continued. "She was always in the house, talking on the phone, playing with dolls, watching Saved by the Bell, while I was outside wrestling with the dog in the mud.”

Raymond worked in law enforcement

<p>Brittney Griner/Instagram</p> Brittney Griner's dad Raymond while service in the U.S. military (on the left).

Brittney Griner/Instagram

Brittney Griner's dad Raymond while service in the U.S. military (on the left).

Decades before Brittney was born, Raymond joined the Marines when he was 18 and went on to serve in Vietnam. Speaking to Fox 26 Sports, he shared that he "spent ’68 and ’69 in Vietnam in the jungle."

Afterward, Raymond landed a few security jobs, including as a traffic cop, per The New York Times. He eventually became a sheriff in Harris County in Houston — a position he held for 35 years, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Raymond’s military experience rubbed off on his youngest daughter, who was well-versed in weaponry and tactics as a teen, ESPN reported. The WNBA All-Star even envisioned joining the military like her dad did, eyeing the Air Force in particular.

"I always kind of wanted to follow in his footsteps when I was younger. I thought I was going to go into law enforcement as well, or maybe even enlist. That didn't really happen, basketball was my calling," Brittney told Baylor Bear Insider in 2021, ahead of her competing at the 2020 Olympics on the U.S. women's basketball team.

She continued, "Now, to be able to put on (the USA jersey) and represent my country in that way, it means everything to me. It means everything to my dad and our family."

Brittney is close to her mom Sandra

<p>Brittney Griner/Instagram</p> Brittney Griner takes a selfie with her mom Sandra (on the left).

Brittney Griner/Instagram

Brittney Griner takes a selfie with her mom Sandra (on the left).

Sandra was a homemaker, who Brittney admitted was patient with her boundless energy and mischievous ways. The mom of two had a calming effect on the youngster, who enjoyed climbing trees, digging for worms and chasing squirrels, per ESPN The Magazine.

“She taught me how to sew, and I would curl up on her lap in the living room while she watched her favorite shows: The Price Is Right and Family Feud and anything on the Food Network,” Brittney shared in her 2014 memoir.

"If you ever need a pillow, I can make you a pillow," she also told ESPN about her crochet skills.

Sandra has always been her daughter’s rock, but when she was diagnosed with lupus in Brittney’s freshman year of college, it was a sobering moment.

My mom is the one person who has always been there for me, no matter what, loving me without question, just giving and giving,” Brittney wrote. “She has always let me be me, let me figure out who I am, when so many other people were telling me who I should be. I have never felt judged by her. Never.”

In response to Sandra's diagnosis, which left her in a wheelchair, Brittney pulled herself out of consideration for the 2012 Olympic team so she could be with her mother. Though the decision prompted criticism, Brittney and Sandra leaned on each other for support.

"I'm not going to lie; there were difficult times for Brittney at Baylor," Sandra told ESPN The Magazine in 2013. "I'm just so glad we're in that next phase now."

Brittney and her dad Raymond bonded over cars

<p>Brittney Garner/Facebook</p> Brittney Griner poses for a photo with her dad Raymond (on the left).

Brittney Garner/Facebook

Brittney Griner poses for a photo with her dad Raymond (on the left).

Brittney is a self-proclaimed “daddy’s girl,” and the two spent a lot of time together when she was growing up.

Almost as soon as she could walk, Raymond began teaching his daughter auto repair skills, including changing oil and repairing brakes. He also bought her a 2006 Dodge Magnum when she was in high school.

"I don't know what some things are called," she said in an ESPN interview in 2008. "But I can fix them."

Brittney's parents are always top of mind for her

A year and a half after her release from a Russian prison, Brittney recounted her harrowing experience in a second memoir titled Coming Home.

Ahead of its debut in May 2024, the professional athlete opened up about the moment she was detained in a special edition of 20/20.

Brittney detailed having a hectic morning after waking up late to go to the airport and had a “mental lapse” about carrying cartridges of cannabis oil in her luggage. When she realized her mistake, she immediately thought about her family.

“I'm thinking about my wife. I'm thinking about my dad. ... what my mom's gonna think, what my family's gonna think,” she said.

Related: Brittney Griner and Cherelle Griner's Relationship Timeline

Six months after her arrest, Brittney pled guilty to the charges after consulting with her wife and lawyers in August 2022, according to The New York Times.

Though she said it was an accident, she understood the charges against her. When she returned to court for her sentencing, Brittney mentioned her parents’ impact on her.

“My parents taught me two important things,” she read in a statement. “One, to take ownership for your responsibilities. And two, to work hard for everything that you have.”

After her release in December of that year, she reunited with her dad Raymond and mom Sandra, to "embark on [a] road to healing.”

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