PHOENIX — The Phoenix Mercury’s victory over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday had a greater meaning than just winning a basketball game.
Especially for Brittney Griner.
“Me being from Houston, when everything started happening, I knew I wanted to do something with the Mercury,” the center said.
Griner teamed up with the Mercury to host “Sunday is for Houston.” The team pledged to donate $1 from every ticket purchased for its regular-season finale. The Mercury also donated 100-percent of the proceeds received from a live auction that took place after the game.
By the end of the day, Griner and the Mercury raised $66,100 for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Fan attendance accounted for $11,222 of the funds raised.
The day started with “Breakfast with BG” in a small pavilion within Talking Stick Resort Arena. It was filled with members of the X-Factor, a Mercury fan club. Those in attendance paid a $100 entrance fee which were donated toward relief efforts.
Syreeta Barrett, a member of the X-Factor, is also a native of Houston.
Barrett said the two-story home she used to live in is almost completely submerged by water.
“Imagine water, and everything you have is flooded,” Barrett said. “Sometimes it drains, and sometimes it doesn’t go away for a while.”
Barrett urged Valley residents to help in any way they could.
“Channel your inner Houston, Arizona,” Barrett said. “Channel that sense of community here for the people that are desperately in need.”
Members of the X-Factor were not the only guests who attended the breakfast.
Hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Percy (Master P) Miller made an appearance in support of Griner.
“I’m so appreciative of Brittney stepping up, being a leader, and representing the city,” Miller said.
Miller, along with a small entourage, stayed for the duration of the event. The group also sat courtside for the Mercury’s 84-70 victory.
The response to the event and outreach from people outside of the community was overwhelming, she said.
“It’s been amazing,” Griner said. “(Actor) Kevin Hart has been calling everyone out on his Instagram. J.J. Watt with the Texans. Just across the board, athlete to athlete, everyone’s been contributing.”
As of Tuesday, Watt has raised approximately $20 million for the Houston relief effort.
Griner was especially appreciative of the Mercury fans that came to support her.
“Having everyone behind me and backing me here in my new home for my home that I came from,” Griner said. “It just means everything.”
After an impressive fundraising effort, Griner performed well on the court, too.
Griner received player of the game honors, leading the Mercury with 30 points, and took the court with “Houston” written on her sneakers.