Brittney Griner breaks down in tears during first press conference since release

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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Brittney Griner has broken down in tears during her first press conference since being released from a Russian prison.

The 32-year-old WNBA star became emotional after recognizing a Phoenix Mercury reporter during her first media availability with the team since her 2022 release.

The press conference was the first time the athlete has been able to speak to reporters and the media since being released from detainment in Russia in December.

"Aw, so good to see you," Griner said after recognizing the journalist in the crowd, with both struggling to speak through tears. Griner had tears in her eyes as the reporter asked how she was able to find the strength to share her story. "See, you're crying and now you made me cry," Griner responded.

Griner gets emotional in her first press conference since her release:

"You know, I'm no stranger to hard times. Just digging deep honestly, you're going to be faced with adversities throughout your life - this was a pretty big one," she recalled, describing her 10 months in Russian custody. The basketballer also said she "relied" on her "hard work" to get through the ordeal.

"I know this sounds so small, but you know, dying in practice and just hard workouts, you find a way to just grind it out. Put your head down and keep moving," she added, also stating that she made sure she never stood still while in Russian prison. "That was my thing...never get too focused on the now."

Later on, Griner also discussed the lessons she took with her following her original arrest in February 2022. "Life is short. Things can change at the stroke of a match. Appreciate every moment. Don't take it for granted, but it's so true. Once something like this happens to you, when people say that it hits home, it hits closer to you," she admitted, per People.

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US basketball player Brittney Griner being escorted before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow in July, 2022. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

Though, Griner did reveal that she would not go overseas to play basketball again, telling reporters: "I'm never going overseas to play again unless I'm representing my country at the Olympics. If I make that team, that would be the only time I would leave the US soil, and that's just to represent the USA."

"I'll say this, 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," Griner explained, saying that she only played in international leagues overseas during the basketball offseason purely for financial reasons, given that men's basketball makes players significantly more money.

Featured image credit: REUTERS / Alamy

Brittney Griner breaks down in tears during first press conference since release

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

Brittney Griner has broken down in tears during her first press conference since being released from a Russian prison.

The 32-year-old WNBA star became emotional after recognizing a Phoenix Mercury reporter during her first media availability with the team since her 2022 release.

The press conference was the first time the athlete has been able to speak to reporters and the media since being released from detainment in Russia in December.

"Aw, so good to see you," Griner said after recognizing the journalist in the crowd, with both struggling to speak through tears. Griner had tears in her eyes as the reporter asked how she was able to find the strength to share her story. "See, you're crying and now you made me cry," Griner responded.

Griner gets emotional in her first press conference since her release:

"You know, I'm no stranger to hard times. Just digging deep honestly, you're going to be faced with adversities throughout your life - this was a pretty big one," she recalled, describing her 10 months in Russian custody. The basketballer also said she "relied" on her "hard work" to get through the ordeal.

"I know this sounds so small, but you know, dying in practice and just hard workouts, you find a way to just grind it out. Put your head down and keep moving," she added, also stating that she made sure she never stood still while in Russian prison. "That was my thing...never get too focused on the now."

Later on, Griner also discussed the lessons she took with her following her original arrest in February 2022. "Life is short. Things can change at the stroke of a match. Appreciate every moment. Don't take it for granted, but it's so true. Once something like this happens to you, when people say that it hits home, it hits closer to you," she admitted, per People.

wp-image-1263163830 size-full
US basketball player Brittney Griner being escorted before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow in July, 2022. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

Though, Griner did reveal that she would not go overseas to play basketball again, telling reporters: "I'm never going overseas to play again unless I'm representing my country at the Olympics. If I make that team, that would be the only time I would leave the US soil, and that's just to represent the USA."

"I'll say this, 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," Griner explained, saying that she only played in international leagues overseas during the basketball offseason purely for financial reasons, given that men's basketball makes players significantly more money.

Featured image credit: REUTERS / Alamy