Brittney Griner returned to competition in the WNBA season opener

“You have to get back to work and know how to put everything aside”, said Brittney Griner in this moment as solemn as warm. Five months after the end of her nightmare, the American, detained ten months in Russiareturned to playing basketball with the Phoenix Mercury on Friday to a standing ovation during the WNBA season opener in Los Angeles.

The Arena, certainly sparse but where the Vice-President of the United States Kamala Harris was present, was indeed not going to fail to reserve such a welcome for Griner, on the occasion of this meeting marking a return to the normal for the star, double Olympic champion with Team USA in 2016 and 2020.

“Thank you for everything you did to support Brittney, because I know it was rough. It was very difficult for you, because a team is a team – it’s family.”Harris told the Mercury players she visited in the locker room.

The pivot was arrested in February 2022 at a Moscow airport with a vaporizer and liquid containing cannabis, a product banned in Russia. She was about to draw for the Yekaterinburg team during the American offseason.

Brittney Griner was finally exchanged in December for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, a prisoner in the United States.

Over the past five months, she has been training to become the dominant insider that she once was. And for this recovery match finally largely lost (94-71) by her team against the Los Angeles Sparks, she more than convinced, finishing top scorer (18 pts at 7/9 on shots, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks).

With each of her actions, fans of both teams loudly encouraged the 32-year-old player, who is also a figure in the LGBT + community. “It’s a day of joyPhoenix coach Vanessa Nygaard said in her pregame speech. Throughout last season, I started every press conference by recalling how many days she had been gone. »

The last time Griner walked on a North American league floor was on October 17, 2021, in Game 4 of the final lost to Chicago Sky. She therefore waited 579 days before returning.

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