Former FAU Women’s Basketball player Yolanda Griffith to be nominated into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Griffith traveled to play on many courts throughout the world, beginning in the Burrow at FAU.

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Yolanda Griffith (pictured #10) played for FAU from 1992 to 1993, as she would later be inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame in 2006. Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Brianna Smith, Staff Writer

Former FAU Women’s Basketball player and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Yolanda Evette Griffith has been nominated into the official Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame among other great athletes such as Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Becky Hammon, Ben Wallace, and several more — between men’s and women’s national basketball — for the 2021 class.

Scheduled for early March, the North American Committee and the Women’s Committee will be announced during the NBA All-Star Game, and the whole official class of 2021 will be revealed during the NCAA Final Four event in the beginning of April. This is subject to change.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has produced outstanding athletes, some like Griffith, who was named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1999, the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2005, and WNBA’s Top 25 Player of All Time.

Within Griffith’s 16-year basketball career, she has seen places within the U.S. and abroad. Her profession has taken her to countries such as Germany, Russia, South Korea and China, but perhaps Griffith’s biggest accomplishment was giving birth to her daughter, Cadence.

The eight-time WNBA All-Star became a mom at the age of 19. A preseason All-American center candidate at Florida Atlantic University, in 1993, had a lot going for herself at such a young start. As one can imagine, having to balance the “single mom life” along with the future career of being a professional athlete can be a bit of a challenge. 

“Sometimes I’m just wiped out and I want to give up, but I can’t because I look at my daughter and know that I can’t give up. I don’t want to be a quitter and I don’t want her to grow up and be a quitter, either,” Griffith told the Sun Sentinel in 1993, via ESME.

Before her attendance at Florida Atlantic University, Griffith went to Palm Beach Junior College from 1990-91 where she was named a 1991 Kodak Junior College All-American. Following her transfer to FAU, she was awarded 1993 Kodak Division II All-American and the 1993 WBCA Division II Player of the Year.

Beginning her hall of fame legacy, Griffith was inducted into the university’s hall of fame in 2006. She still leads with the highest record of points scored in an FAU single season with 621, an average field goal percentage of 63 percent, and the one thing she was known most for — her rebounding — at 352. 

Within her years in the basketball world, Griffith was then inducted into the women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. She later went on to accomplish other things in the basketball realm, having coached for college basketball teams like the University of Dartmouth as an assistant coach in 2011 and made her way onto the University of Massachusetts women’s basketball roster as coaching staff — in her second season there — for the 2015-16 season.

Griffith’s efforts and achievements continue to follow her wherever she goes and that is what makes her a class-act athlete on and off the court.

Bria Smith is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @itsbriiaa.