Brittany Griner says she will never be able to play basketball abroad again after spending nearly ten months in a Russian prison. However, the WNBA player shared one reason why she would change her mind.
The 32-year-old shared his thoughts during a nearly one-hour press conference on Thursday. The meeting was streamed on the official Phoenix Mercury YouTube page.
Griner spoke to the media for the first time since his release from Russian custody in December
It was the first time the WNBA star has spoken to the media since her release from Russian custody in December.
The Phoenix Mercury star revealed, “If I make that team, that will be the only time I leave US soil, and that’s just to represent the USA.”
“Until I’m representing my country at the Olympics, I’m never going overseas to play again.”
Brittany Griner on whether she plans to move overseas to play basketball in the future:
“Until I’m representing my country at the Olympics, I’m never going overseas to play again.” pic.twitter.com/ZUI2LFi0yX
— Khristina Williams (@khristina) April 27, 2023
Griner, like many other WNBA players, was forced to play overseas because of the “pay gap,” she says.
Despite being a WNBA superstar, Griner found herself playing for the Russian women’s basketball team, UMMC Yekaterinburg. The Far East League reportedly paid him better than any state team.
Unfortunately, she said, too many other WNBA players choose to play overseas, citing the pay difference.
Griner said, “I will say this, the reason a lot of us are there is the pay gap.” “A lot of us go out there to earn an income, to support our families, to support ourselves.”
In the WNBA, she earns a six-figure salary, instead of the roughly $1.5 million she typically earns in Russia, according to ESPN.
Supermax’s salary for 2022 was $228,094, with players having the opportunity to make more in bonuses and marketing deals.
The average salary for a player in the WNBA for the 2022 season was $102,751 among 151 athletes, NBC Connecticut reports. In contrast, according to Gaimday.com, the average NBA player salary for the 2022-23 season is $9,662,447.
“So I don’t knock any player who wants to go abroad and earn a little extra money. I’m looking forward to our league continuing to grow, and all the people here covering it right now, I hope you’ll continue, as I said, to cover our league, to bring us exposure. For.
Making sacrifices, missing friends and family, another reason to play at home, according to Griner
However, as much as he was paid to play overseas, Griner said he was forced to make many sacrifices and miss friends and family while he was away.
“I mean, you’re missing out on everything being away,” she said. “But at the same time, as much as I’d like to pay my light bill with the love of sport, I can’t. So I think that’s probably the biggest reason why people are still going overseas, and that’s why I was there. So hopefully that will change.
RELATED: Brittney Griner re-signs with WNBA Phoenix Mercury team to 1-year, $165K contract
Brittany Griner said she expects to see similar coverage of Mercury’s weather as she’s getting today. pic.twitter.com/uRm0mZKtwK
— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) April 27, 2023
In August 2022, a Russian court found Brittany Griner guilty of attempted drug trafficking and possession. According to CNN, the guilty verdict says Britney had criminal intent when she attempted to enter the country with less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.
Before sentencing, Russian prosecutors asked the court in their closing arguments to consider giving the WNBA star 9.5 years. Shortly after news of the verdict broke, Griner’s lawyers confirmed that the Russian court had granted prosecutors’ request.
As a result, he was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony. the new York Times. In addition, the judge fined Britney $16,300 – one million rubles.
However, his sentence was essentially commuted on December 8, 2022, when Russia and the United States conducted a prisoner exchange, trading Griner for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer.