March 1, 1970 |
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||188 lb (85 kg)|
|Draft||2nd overall, 1999
|Sacramento Monarchs (1999–2007)
Seattle Storm (2008)
Indiana Fever (2009)
|Awards and honors|
|WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (1999)
WNBA MVP (1999)
8× WNBA All-Star (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
WNBA Champion (2005)
WNBA Finals MVP (2005)
WNBA's All-Decade Team
Yolanda Evette Griffith (born March 1, 1970) is an American professional basketball hall of fame player who played in both the ABL and WNBA. A Former WNBA MVP, she is considered one of the greatest rebounders and defensive players in the history of Women's Basketball. She last played in the WNBA as a member of the Indiana Fever. In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the top 15 players in WNBA history. She is sometimes called by her nicknames: "Yo" and "Yo-Yo". Since retiring from the professional ranks, Griffith has been involved in coaching at the Division I collegiate level. Griffith was inducted into the 2014 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame's class on her first year of eligibility.
High School and College
Born in Chicago, Illinois, she attended George Washington Carver High School in the Chicago area. In her senior year (1988–1989), she was named in Parade Magazine's All-American basketball team, as well as first team All-America in softball.
Afterward, she attended Palm Beach Junior College in Lake Worth, Florida, where she earned Junior College All-America honors in 1990-91. She later transferred to Florida Atlantic University, which was then a Division II school, where she graduated in 1993, earning Kodak Division II Player of the Year honors. While in school, she supported herself and her daughter by working for a car repossession company.
American Basketball League
In 1997, she joined the American Basketball League (ABL) after playing pro basketball in Germany. Griffith was selected by the Long Beach Stingrays as the number one pick overall in the ABL players draft. In their only season, Griffith led the Stingrays to the brink of the ABL title, only to lose to the defending champions, the Columbus Quest. Griffith was named the 1997–1998 ABL Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-ABL first team. She finished second in the ABL's 1998 Most Valuable Player voting to her future 2000 Summer Olympics teammate Natalie Williams.
When the Long Beach franchise folded after the end of the 1997–98 season, she was dealt to the expansion Chicago Condors, in her hometown. She played there only briefly, however, as the league folded on December 22, 1998. Prior to that, Griffith ranked fifth among league leaders in scoring (17.2 ppg), first in rebounding (12.3 rpg), 19th in assists (2.6 apg), second in steals (3.3 spg), and second in blocked shots (1.3 bpg).
The Sacramento Monarchs selected Griffith as the no. 2 overall draft pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft. She is a seven-time WNBA All-Star, and won the WNBA's MVP, Newcomer of the Year and Defensive Player awards in 1999.
On February 20, 2009, Griffith signed with the Indiana Fever, after a one year stint with the Storm.
On June 9, 2009, Griffith tore her achilles tendon in a game against the Seattle Storm, her former team. She was out for the season, and since she retired at the end of the season, it ended her career. In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the top 15 players in the fifteen-year history of the WNBA.
Griffith has remained in Indiana as an adjunct assistant coach. She is considered their player development coach.
WNBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game||RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game||BPG||Blocks per game|
|PPG||Points per game||TO||Turnovers per game||FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage||Bold||Career high||League leader|
|Career||11 years, 3 teams||311||306||28.8||.506||.000||.713||7.9||1.5||1.7||1.0||2.11||13.6|
|Career||8 years, 2 teams||42||42||31.1||.484||.000||.786||8.0||1.4||1.4||0.8||1.69||15.0|
Shortly after graduating from college, Griffith began her professional basketball playing career in Germany, where she played from 1993 to 1997. In 1997, she finished as the top scorer and rebounder in the EuroLeague, averaging 24.7 points and 16.0 rebounds per game.
During the WNBA offseason, Griffith has played extensively overseas, usually on teams and leagues that feature other WNBA players. In 2003 and 2004, she played for a Russian professional team in Ekaterinburg.
- 1993–1997: DJK Wildcats Aschaffenburg
- 2000–2002: Lavezzini Basket Parma
- 2003–2004: UMMC Ekaterinburg
- 2005–2006: UMMC Ekaterinburg
Griffith has twice been a member of the U.S. National Women's Basketball team. She won Gold Medals at the Summer Olympics in both 2000 and 2004. Griffith will serve as a member of the USA Basketball Women’s Development National Team Committee from 2013-2016. The Women’s Developmental National Team committees will select coaches and athletes for USA Basketball teams competing in the 2013 and 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championships; and the 2014 and 2016 FIBA U17 World Championships. The Men’s Developmental National Team Committee also selects staff and players for the annual Nike Hoop Summit.
In 2011, Griffith accepted an assistant coach position with Ivy League university, Dartmouth, located in Hanover, NH. In her first season with the Big Green the Dartmouth post players made great strides. Griffith was instrumental in the development of Arianne Hunter and Tia Dawson. Dawson, who was the Big Green's top rebounder and the top shot blocker in the Ivy League, was twice named Ivy League Rookie of the Week. In 2013, Griffith was named the First Assistant Coach for Lafayette College a member of the Patriot League.
- Indiana Lands Former MVP Yolanda Griffith
- Porter pp. 178–179.
- "Games of the XXVIIth Olympiad -- 2000". USA Basketball. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad -- 2004". USA Basketball. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "USA Basketball Announces 2013-16 Competition Committees". Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- "Dartmouth Endowment Yields 18.4% Return in Fiscal 2011". Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- "WNBA, Olympic standout Yolanda Griffith named top assistant for Lafayette women's basketball program". Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- David L. Porter, ed. (2005). Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-30952-6.
- Yolanda Griffith at WNBA.com
- USA Basketball Player Profile
- 2004 WNBA article: "Ambassadors Of The Game"
- October 14, 2005 Sacramento Bee article: "Monarchs' Griffith finally has a legacy"
- Griffith signs with the Storm