Brittney Griner has endured a roller coaster of emotions after going from a WNBA star athlete to a detainee in Russia. But now that she’s back home and with her team, the Phoenix Mercury, Griner has begun her comeback tour.
On Sunday (May 21), the Mercury faced off against the Chicago Sky in the team’s first home game of the 2023 regular season. Before tip-off, Griner teared up as Diddy and Dirty Money’s “Coming Home” played during a video tribute, ESPN reported.
“It was emotional in the back, just hearing, seeing some of the clips and then coming out… But, no, it was really good,” she told reporters. “Part of the process of healing is just kind of letting it out. So, yeah, nah, I got choked up a little bit.”
Starting at center, the former Baylor athlete showed she’s still a force in the league after entering halftime nearing double digits in points. When Griner drained her first three-pointer of the game, she pounded her chest while yelling, “I’m back.” She finished as the team’s lead scorer with 27 points. Afterward, she spoke with reporters about her exciting and emotional return home.
“I never try to get tied up into all the outside stuff, trying to say ‘I’m back‘ — granted, I did say that after that 3,” Griner said, according to Yahoo. “Starting off the game, my mindset was that if I’m the first option, I’ve got to go score it. If I’m not, I need to get my player open… None of that is ever going to change.”
The USA Olympian played in her first game two days prior since being in Russian custody for 10 months. Against the Los Angeles Sparks, the 32-year-old player shot 77.8 percent from the field and ended the game with 18 points.