Video: Brittney Griner Q&A with media, “I’m never playing overseas again unless I’m representing my country at the Olympics.”
Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner spoke to the media Thursday ahead of her return to play with the three-time WNBA champions. Attendees at the packed press conference in Phoenix included Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs and representatives of other politicians, including Congressman Greg Stanton.
Griner returned to the U.S. in December from a 10-month nightmare in Russia after being detained and then sent to a penal colony for allegedly bringing a small amount of hashish oil into the country. She went to Russia to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the WNBA offseason. Her arrest led to a geopolitical firestorm that ended with a prisoner swap with infamous Russian Arms dealer Viktor Bout known as the “Merchant of Death.”
The two-time Olympic gold medalist began her presser by thanking the media for covering her ordeal in Russia and advocating for her release.
“First off, thank y’all for covering me and all the exposure that you gave me, my family to get me home. I really appreciate it. That coverage was much needed. I would like to encourage all of you to be at our first game as well. And the whole entire season covering not only the Phoenix Mercury…but the whole entire league as well. You know, from start to finish. I expect to see the same coverage because we have a great product, and you’ll see it this summer.”
She also indicated that she had no desire to play abroad unless it was for the United. States: “I’m never playing overseas again unless I’m representing my country at the Olympics.”
Following the conclusion of the press conference, the Mercury and Griner, in partnership with the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, unveiled a mural outside of Footprint Center that brings awareness to individuals still wrongfully detained abroad.
Training camp for all WNBA teams begins Sunday, April 30. The Mercury begins the regular season with a trip to Los Angeles on Friday, May 19. Phoenix’s home opener is Sunday, May 21, against the Chicago Sky. Both games will be aired on ESPN and streamed on ESPN+.