Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Brittney Griner - American, 23, Basketball (New)
It did not take long for Brittney Griner to show that she would do things her way in professional basketball. Less than one game, in fact. The number one draft pick for the Phoenix Mercury in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) gave notice of her formidable gifts on her 2013 debut, dunking twice in a few fourth-quarter minutes to match the league record for a full career.
Griner is different, and not just because she has the talent to transform women’s basketball. She has a cover star’s face but, at 6ft 8in, is an atypical model of femininity. Nike has recognised this, bowing to her wishes to model men’s lines when it signed her last spring. Griner’s homosexuality is a matter of record and, increasingly, a matter of pride: she has used her recent memoir, In My Skin, to take on her former coach Kim Mulkey and her primly conservative alma mater, Baylor University.
The 23-year-old is performing in an era of social change and social media and her tenacity will serve her well. By her own admission, she has overcome the “pain” of bullying in adolescence to develop a stronger sense of her own character. “I’m just being myself, honestly,” she told Elle last November. But the impact of that could be profound. “She can change the way people think,” said Lindsay Kagawa Colas, her agent at Wasserman Media Group, in an interview with ESPN in May 2013. “And her success will mean society is working a little better for everyone.” EC
The agent perspective
Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent at Wasserman Media Group:
“Everything about Brittney is real and we’re of the mind that that’s the only thing worth selling. It’s all about authenticity, which is why we have purposely led with advocacy. Brittney is an incredible athlete, but her value and contribution goes far beyond basketball. It’s social impact – she changes the way people think about the world.”