PHOENIX MERCURY

Brittney Griner has her eyes set on Mercury season after detainment

Apr 27, 2023, 10:20 AM | Updated: 1:29 pm

(KTAR News Photo/Colton Krolak)...

(KTAR News Photo/Colton Krolak)

(KTAR News Photo/Colton Krolak)

Brittney Griner appeared in front of reporters for the first time since returning to the United States after being detained for 10-months in Russia.

“I’m no stranger to hard times,” Griner said Thursday from the lobby of the Footprint Center. “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 Gov. Katie Hobbs, members of the Phoenix Mercury organization and her wife, Cherelle.

Basketball-wise, Griner is rounding back into form thanks to her wife and teammates. Returning to WNBA-level workouts was a struggle for Griner at first but she seems to have found her way back.

“It was hard to even just do a plank,” Griner said upon her return.

When asked about the progress she made, her quick-wit took over the interview.

“That’s a good question for my wife. Ask her how it felt getting dunked on,” Griner said.

She said that returning to the Mercury and the WNBA was never a question and even threw a jab at her teammate Diana Taurasi.

“Playing with D, who wouldn’t want to play with a walking fossil?” she said.

Both players are expected to be key contributors for a team that squeaked into the WNBA playoffs last season before being swept by Las Vegas in the first round.

For Griner, it’s safe to say that the Mercury season will be her top priority.

“I can say for me, I’m never going overseas to play again unless I’m representing my country at the Olympics,” Griner said.

The WNBA preseason tips off on May 5 with the Mercury taking the floor on May 9 for its preseason opener against the Seattle Storm.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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