A day of joy’: Brittney Griner makes WNBA season debut after being jailed in Russia
May 20, 2023 -LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brittney Griner stood for the national anthem before her first regular-season WNBA game since being jailed in Russia.
Griner was outspoken for social justice in 2020 and didn’t take the court during the pregame anthem. But nearly a year behind bars in Russia changed her.
“I was literally in a cage and could not stand the way I wanted to,” she said. “Just being able to hear my national anthem and see my flag, I definitely want to stand.”
Griner had 18 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots Friday night for the Phoenix Mercury in a 94-71 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.
“Not good enough, didn’t get the dub,” said Griner, who nevertheless couldn’t be down in defeat.
“I appreciate everything a little bit more, all of the small moments, like, ‘Oh, I’m so tired I don’t want to go to practice today,’ that has changed, honestly,” she said. “Tomorrow is not guaranteed, you don’t know what it’s going to look like. I feel a lot older somehow, too.”