Thursday, 30 Nov 2023

I relied on hard work: Brittney Griner on coping with Russian detention

I relied on hard work: Brittney Griner on coping with Russian detention


I relied on hard work: Brittney Griner on coping with Russian detention

Brittney Griner got emotional quickly.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since a nearly 10-month detainment in Russia on drug-related charges, the WNBA star had to take a moment to compose herself after being asked about her resiliency through the ordeal.

"I'm no stranger to hard times," Griner said Thursday from the lobby of the Footprint Center, home of her new team the Phoenix Mercury and the NBA's Phoenix Suns. "Just digging deep. You're going to be faced with adversities in life. This was a pretty big one. I just relied on my hard work to get through it."

Griner's first news conference drew more than 100 people, including Arizona governor Katie Hobbs, members of the Mercury organization and her wife, Cherelle.

Griner was arrested in February 2022 at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. She later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

She said her abilities as an athlete helped her cope. "I know this sounds so small but dying in practice and just hard workouts, you find a way to just grind it out, just put your head down and keep going and keep moving forward," she said.

"You can never stand still and that was my thing; just never be still, never get too focused on the now and looking forward to what's to come."

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