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Phoenix Mercury Press Conference And Mural Unveiling With Brittney Griner

Source: Christian Petersen / Getty / Brittney Griner

Following her harrowing ordeal in Russia after being wrongfully detained, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Brittney Griner has reservations about playing abroad. 

Speaking during a news conference on Thursday, Griner told reporters she would “never go overseas again” to play basketball unless it’s for the Olympics.

The two-time Olympic gold medal winner spent nearly 300 days in a Russian prison after being detained in February 2022. Following a “trial” where we all knew she could not beat the case, she was sentenced to nine years in prison on drug-smuggling charges after airport officials discovered cannabis oil in her luggage.

Knowingly being used as a pawn by the Russian government, she was eventually freed in a prisoner exchange with the US government. 

Brittney Griner Is Not Going Back To Russia To Hoop

When asked if she intends to compete internationally again at a point in her career, she quickly shut that down. She also pointed out that women go overseas to play professional ball because the pay is better, adding that she hopes companies start investing in the WNBA.

“I’m never going overseas to play again unless it’s to represent my country,” Griner said.

“If I make that (US) team, that would be the only time I’ll leave the US soil, and that’s just to represent the USA,” Griner continued. “The whole reason a lot of us go over is the pay gap.”

“A lot of us go over there to make an income, to support our families, to support ourselves. So I don’t knock any player that wants to go overseas and want to make a little bit extra money.”

“I’m hoping that our league continues to grow. I hope a lot [more] companies start to invest in our craft.”

The news conference was held just days before the Phoenix Mercury started their training camp for the upcoming season.

Griner also spoke about how she stayed hopeful and more during the conference. You can read more about it by heading here.

Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty