Brittney Griner singing new tune on National Anthem following stint in Russian prison

WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner took to the Footprint Center basketball court for the first time since Moscow authorities arrested her in February 2022 for packing cannabis oil vape canisters in Russia-bound bags.

As she stood alongside her Pheonix Mercury teammates for the national anthem prior to the start of the game, Griner says she got a “different” feeling.

“Hearing the national anthem, it definitely hit different,” Griner said, according to Fox News. “It’s like when you go for the Olympics, you’re sitting there, about to get gold put on your neck, the flags are going up, and the anthem is playing, it just hits different.

Well, spending almost 10 months in a Russian prison can have that effect on an American — even “an America-hating lesbian pothead” like Griner.

As BizPac Review previously reported, Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in Russia and was sentenced to nine years behind bars. Her controversial early release was secured in a prisoner swap: Convicted international arms dealer Viktor Bout, known worldwide as the “Merchant of Death,” for the basketball player.

“It feels so good to be home!” she exclaimed on Instagram upon her return. “The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.”

After thanking everyone from President Biden to her wife, Cherelle Griner, the No. 1 pick of the 2013 WNBA Draft made clear her desire to get back to the game.

“I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon,” she wrote.

Some five months later, Griner got her chance after re-signing in February with Phoenix for her 10th WNBA season. As she took the court in the game against the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday, the home crowd greeted her with enthusiastic cheers.

(Video: YouTube)

“Being here today … it means a lot,” Griner said, according to Fox News.

“We looked at each other, and we just had chills,” Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “We were here last year for all of it. I’m getting emotional about it now. Just to see her back out there — it’s an absolute miracle. It was amazing. It’s giving me chills again.”

In just 17 minutes, Griner delivered three rebounds, but the player said she’s still a bit rusty.

“Not where I want it to be, but on the right track,” she said. “We’re making the right moves.”

On Twitter, many weren’t quite as moved by Griner’s return as Nygaard was.

“I’m sure she does feel differently about the national anthem, it’s all fun and games until someone ends up in the cone,” wrote one user. “So many woke agenda followers don’t seem to get it until it effects them.”


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