Brittney Griner is baring more than just her bangin' physique in ESPN's 2015 Body Issue. Like other sports stars before her, the WNBA standout stripped down for a nude photo shoot showcasing her athletic bod — while also opening up to the mag about her insecurities, her childhood, and that now-infamous fight with her estranged pregnant wife, Glory Johnson.
"I'm comfortable in my body and I don't mind putting it on display," Griner, 24, told ESPN of why she decided to pose naked. "Honestly, I like how unique it is. My big arms, my bigger hands, these long legs — I love being different. If everybody was the same, it'd be a boring-ass world."
She hasn't always been so confident, though. As a child, Griner says she was bullied and picked on for her towering size, deep voice, and flat chest. "I definitely lashed out a lot. I definitely got in trouble for fighting. I was just at rock bottom," she shared. "I was really depressed and really sad…getting teased all the time, people telling me that I'm a freak."
She "got called a boy all the time," she told ESPN, adding that she sometimes still gets funny looks when she uses public restrooms. On one occasion in China, she actually got pushed out of the ladies' room by a woman who mistook her for a man. "I couldn't do anything but laugh. I didn't even try to defend myself and tell her I was a girl," Griner recalled.
These days, the athlete — who stands tall at 6-foot-8 and wears a men's size 17 shoe — is much more equipped to deal with criticism about her body. But now she's facing other problems in her personal life with Johnson, from whom she split in June after just 28 days of marriage.
Griner filed for an annulment one day after fellow WNBA star Johnson announced she was pregnant, later saying she had reservations about the union even before they said "I do." Prior to their wedding, the duo had been arrested for allegedly assaulting each other in April.
"You know, you do something, you have to pay the price for it, and I understand that," Griner told ESPN of the fight. "I understand what I did was wrong. [The incident] was mutual; they call it 'mutual combat.' And that's what it was. But I wish I had walked away…That was my worst decision; I should've left. Because it never ends good. Domestic violence is never okay, no matter what the situation."
Griner is just one of many athletes featured in ESPN's 2015 Body Issue. The mag also showcases six naked cover stars, including Kevin Love, Natalie Coughlin, and Bryce Harper. See all the covers below!
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