Brittney Griner Triumphantly Returns To WNBA With A Standing Ovation

Photo: Instagram/Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner's highly anticipated return to the WNBA on Friday was met with a heartwarming standing ovation from the Los Angeles crowd.

It was her first regular-season game since October 2021, and despite being a road opponent, the fans recognized and appreciated her presence. The Phoenix Mercury, Griner's team, commenced their season in Los Angeles against the Sparks, signifying her comeback after missing the preseason matches.

During an interview with the ESPN broadcast after the first quarter, Griner expressed her focus on the game, stating, "You come to work, you gotta put everything aside." Her words reflected her determination to perform on the court despite the personal challenges she had faced recently.

Photo: Instagram/Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury is being defended by Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks in her first game back.

In February 2022, Griner was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport for carrying vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage. Following her guilty plea to drug charges, she was sentenced to nine years in prison. 

However, in a controversial prisoner exchange in December, she was traded for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year sentence for conspiracy to kill Americans. Griner finally returned to the United States on December 9, 2022.

Prior to the game, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Griner in the locker room and addressed both the Mercury and the Sparks. She thanked everyone for their support during Griner's difficult journey, acknowledging the challenges she had faced.

Griner described her experience in Russia as "harrowing," sharing her ordeal on Instagram. She detailed her detention at the airport upon arriving in Moscow to rejoin the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team, highlighting the unimaginable period it marked in her life.

Griner's bravery in sharing her story resonated with her fans and supporters. The WNBA also paid tribute to Griner's return, releasing a video featuring several Los Angeles Sparks players speaking positively about her.

In the video, Sparks forward Chiney Ogwumike expressed her joy at having Griner back on the court, emphasizing that basketball is her safe space and celebrating their shared history growing up in Houston, Texas.

Griner wasted no time making an impact in her comeback game, knocking down her first two field goals of the night. Her return brought a renewed sense of energy and excitement to the league, and fans eagerly anticipate watching her dominate the game once again.

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Source: Fox News


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