Editor’s Note: Welcome to Hall of Thread. Logan Meyer has collected sports jerseys since middle school and has more than 250 to his name. Thrift stores across the world, trades and scouring online deals have helped him build his jersey empire, and in this series, he will explain some of his most prized basketball jerseys, how he got them, background on the player and teams and more. With a collection like his, you’re bound to find something unique.
Goodwill in Fort Collins, Colorado, has long had a special place in my thrifting heart ever since I purchased a player-issued Colorado State Rams football jersey there during my first visit to my now home city.
I’ve ventured through its aisles so frequently in the past few years that I’ve developed a designated route I travel through the store to maximize efficiency each visit.
Arguably the most consistent jersey location in the 170,000 person city, I’ve found plenty of NBA and soccer jerseys mixed with the ever-constant Denver Broncos Peyton Mannings or Wes Welkers. But the best finds are always the ones that you least expect.
Crammed in a strange location between a smattering of button-down shirts hung the jersey of a 6-foot-9 former AP National Player of the Year, NCAA national champion, Olympic gold medalist, and six-time WNBA All-Star. It was the first of its kind in my collection: a Phoenix Mercury Brittney Griner WNBA jersey.
Griner, the No. 1 selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft, wasn’t the kind of jersey I had even contemplated I would find at a thrift store. With women’s sports growing significantly in size and accessibility in recent years, I expect and hope to see more jerseys like this one on the racks soon.
This Phoenix Mercury jersey is one of only two women’s teams I’ve ever found in the men’s clothing racks, with the other belonging to Nashville Rhythm FC of the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
The Brittney Griner jersey itself also has a couple unique features to it that are unlike any others of mine. While the purple primary color of the jersey is shared in my collection only with that of Phoenix’s NBA team, the two advertisements that adorn the front directly above and below Griner’s No. 42 are one-of-a-kind within my assortment of basketball tops. Looking like something directly out of EuroLeague hoops, the LifeLock and Boost Mobile ads are disappointingly larger than the Phoenix Mercury logo itself.
The other small detail of this jersey that sets it apart is the placement of Griner’s name on the back. Different from that of any other basketball jersey I own, the name is found underneath the number. Presumably to most people this minor attribute would be nothing to write home about, but for the avid jersey hunter as myself, these little distinctive differences are what I’m striving to find.
A perfect fit for me, but certainly much too short for Griner herself, the adult medium jersey is unquestionably one of my rarest basketball fits. With the popularity growth of the WNBA, I’m looking forward to finding more jerseys like this Brittney Griner Phoenix Mercury one in the very near future.
The Brittney Griner Grind to the Top
A four-year difference maker and record setter at Baylor, Brittney Griner changed the game. In just her first season as a member of the Bears program, she blocked more shots than any other player in NCAA history. Griner also holds the NCAA record for blocks in a career, and in fact blocked more shots individually her junior season than any other women’s Division I team that year.
After an unreal college career that consisted of a national title, a National Player of the Year award and two First-Team All-American selections, among other accolades, Griner’s impact has been no less significant in the pros.
The former No. 1 overall pick of the Phoenix Mercury was a WNBA All-Star selection in her rookie season and was the W’s blocks leader. Since that first year, Brittney Griner has continued to dominate, finishing as the league’s blocks leader every single season from 2013 to 2019, as well as earning the WNBA’s scoring title in 2017 and 2019.
A WNBA champion in 2014 with the Mercury, Griner has been successful at every step of her career. Truly one of basketball’s greatest winners, she fits on a very short list graced by other legends of the game, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Diana Taurasi, and Maya Moore, as athletes who have won an NCAA championship, an NBA/WNBA title, and an Olympic gold medal.
Brittney Griner continues to perform at an elite level with the Mercury as she was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder during the abbreviated 2020 WNBA season prior to her departing the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida, for personal reasons. To top it off, she has a remarkable life story filled with struggles and overcome obstacles that can inspire.
This article was originally published Oct. 19, 2020.