Brittney Griner is given a hero’s welcome by fans in Phoenix as she returns for first WNBA home game
Brittney Griner gets a hero’s welcome from fans in Phoenix as she returns for her first WNBA home game in 585 days, five months after her release from a Russian penal colony.
- Griner’s return to Phoenix included concerts at halftime and after the game.
- She made her WNBA return against the Los Angeles Sparks several nights ago.
- DailyMail.com provides the latest international sports news
Mercury star Brittney Griner returned to make her Phoenix home debut for the first time in 585 days after her highly publicized detention in Russia saw her miss all of last season.
Griner stood up for a moment clapping his hands before doing an X in the air as his name was announced, the sounds of ‘I’m going home’ blaring from the speaker in the background.
The fans in attendance gave him a standing ovation as the glows of countless phone lights lit up the arena.
The Mercury played the Chicago Sky in the first game of the season at home court, on a day that also featured pre-game and post-game concerts by Wyclef Jean.
Griner made her WNBA return in the team’s previous game against the Los Angeles Sparks, in what she called “a day of joy.”
Brittney Griner made her Phoenix home debut after missing all of last season in Russia.
His Phoenix Suns team was playing the Chicago Sky on Sunday afternoon.
The homecoming came shortly after her return to the WNBA against the Los Angels Sparks.
“I was literally in a cage and couldn’t stand the way I wanted to,” he said. “Just being able to hear my national anthem and see my flag, I definitely want to be on my feet.”
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, I didn’t understand the dubbing,” said Griner, who, however, couldn’t be beaten.
“I appreciate everything a little more, all the little moments, like, ‘Oh, I’m so tired I don’t want to go practice today,’ that has changed, honestly,” she said.
‘Tomorrow is not guaranteed, you don’t know how it will be. In a way, I also feel so much older.
The 32-year-old center’s immediate goal is to play a full game before the All-Star break in mid-July. She played 25 minutes on Friday.
“I hope to be exactly where I want to be,” Griner said. ‘Just going back to the way it was before all this happened.’
Griner made an immediate impact against the Sparks. She fired a pass to Moriah Jefferson, who hit a 3-pointer for Phoenix’s first basket. Griner grabbed a pair of rebounds and scored twice to help the Mercury take an early lead.
Despite all the good energy they received upon their return to their home court, Griner and Mercury were defeated by Sky 75-69.
Griner led the team with 27 points on 9-13 shooting and had 10 rebounds to clinch a double-double. However, his efforts were not enough to prevent the team from losing its second straight game early in the season.