Andra Griner: Mother of Brittney Griner, Whose All-Star WNBA Daughter Faced Arrest in Russia on Drug Charges

by Laura C. Jones
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Between Olympic games and Player of the Week awards, Brittney Yevette Griner has been getting her fair share of public attention. But things are entirely different with her mother, Sandra Griner, who’s living a low-profile life.

Let’s check out how this pro basketball mom is doing!

Sandra Griner: At a Glance

Brittney Griner

Even though her daughter is an All-Star basketball player, Sandra Griner leads a private life. Not much is known about the Texan mother of four—not even her exact birthdate.

That said, she’s likely around 55 years (but doesn’t look a day over 40).

Here’s a quick bio of Griner:

  • Nationality: American national of Latin descent
  • Residence: Texas
    • Occupation: Homemaker
    • Spouse: Raymond Griner
    • Children: DeCarlo, Shekera, Pier, and Britteny Griner
  • Height: 5’ 6”
  • Hobbies: Crochet, baking desserts, and watching Hallmark movies

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Sandra Griner

While there’s much the public doesn’t know about Sandra Griner, I did come across a few facts about her relationship with her daughter.

Here are five of those facts:

1. Sandra’s Daughter Was the Biggest Baby in the Room From Day One

Brittney Griner

Standing 6’ 9”, Brittney Griner (BG) is easily one of the tallest professional women’s basketball players. But it doesn’t look like she had an unexpected growth sprout.

When Sandra gave birth to BG on October 18, 1990, she was the heaviest baby born in the hospital that day. How heavy, you ask? Well, she weighed a whopping 10 pounds and 11 ounces!

So it wasn’t a huge surprise to see little BG grow taller than her 6’ 2” father and her oldest sister Pier, who was 5’ 8”. She certainly was taller than Sandra Griner herself.

2. BG Was a Daddy’s Girl but Still Had a Good Relationship With Sandra

Brittney Griner

Britteny Griner was incredibly close to her father Raymond—so much so that she once said he was her role model, and if she weren’t a basketball player, she’d follow in his footsteps.

If she had followed in his footsteps, BG would have become a police officer. Ray Griner was a veteran and a former Harris County sheriff.

They would watch military shows together. Ray even taught little BG self-defense (she was bullied a lot in school), how to change a car’s oil, and how to repair brakes. When he would spend an evening patrolling carnivals, he’d come home with a stuffed animal for BG.

It’s easy to see how she was quite the daddy’s girl. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t have a good relationship with her mother.

She also enjoyed sewing with her mom. Plus, while BG and Ray’s stubbornness would often cause them to clash, Sandra consistently supported her daughter.

BG has even spoken publicly about how much she appreciates her mother, doctor, nurse, best friend, and rock. Sandra Griner is the “number one woman” in BG’s life!

3. Sandra Is Still Dealing With BG’s Booby Traps

Andra Griner

It looks like the WNBA player is good with swinging trapdoors. When she was younger, she’d balance cups of water on her bedroom door and then call her sister into the room, luring her into the trap.

Years passed, and Sandra is still coming across booby traps in the Griner’s backyard!

4. Sandra Griner Was Diagnosed With Lupus

Sandra Griner got a devastating diagnosis during BG’s freshman season, but she didn’t have to go through it alone. The rising star withdrew herself from the 2012 Olympic team to spend more time with her ill mother.

BG did get the chance to be part of winning not one but two Olympic gold medals with Team USA later, though. One was in the Rio 2016 Games, and the other was at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where Griner Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson were top performers.

5. Sandra’s Must Have Been Devastated to See Her Daughter Detained

Brittney Griner

In February 2022, BG traveled from New York to Moscow to play for the UMMC Ekaterinburg (a Russian professional women’s basketball team). However, she was arrested in connection with a drug investigation.

Initially, I found this headline confusing for more than one reason. Of course, I wondered what the whole investigation was about. But I also wanted to know what one of the WNBA’s finest was doing with the UMMC.

This happens often because the pay overseas is usually better than that in the WNBA. So, that answers one question.

As for the drug investigation, BG was detained by the Customs Service at the airport after they found drugs in her carry-on.

She was sentenced to nine years but only spent a few months in prison since she was released as part of a prisoner exchange deal between the US and Russia. By December 2022, she was back on US soil.

I can only imagine Sandra Griner’s relief to see her daughter again!

The Phoenix Mercury manager was also happy to have BG back and announced that the team re-signed her for the 2023 season shortly after her return. BG isn’t listed on the 2024 roster, though.

Final Thoughts

It looks like Sandra Griner has stood by her daughter’s side. Hopefully, she’s feeling better and spending more time with Britteny Griner now that she’s back in the US!


Images source: Facebook

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