Brittney Griner broke onto the national scene as a basketball phenomenon. At Baylor, the star center shattered numerous national records and had one of the most successful careers in the history of women's basketball. She was the top overall pick of the 2013 WNBA draft and is one of the most hyped rookies in the league's history.
Then Griner became a cultural icon, revealing she is lesbian and instantly becoming one of the most high profile gay athletes in professional sports. When she signed with Nike, Griner became the first openly gay athlete to ink a deal with the powerful apparel company.
And if all goes well for Griner, the next realm she transforms may be fashion.
In an outstanding profile of Griner for ESPN The Magazine, Kate Fagan noted that Griner's Nike contract allows her to wear clothes branded for men:
"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."
Good for Griner and for Nike. Hopefully this unique partnership will allow for some bending of traditional gender norms. Because as we've seen repeatedly during the past few months, the world of sports is ready.