Brittney Griner is back in the WNBA and she started the 2023-24 campaign with a solid performance. Griner missed the whole season last year due to her imprisonment in Russia for 10 months. However, after making her return back to American soil, questions were asked if she would return to the court. After 19 months away from the hardwood, she has finally made her much-awaited return.
She made her first appearance on home court, as she was welcomed with warm applause. Her return to her first WNBA game attracted celebrities. Some of them were Magic Johnson, Darvin Ham, Pau Gasol, Billie Jean King, and Dawn Staley. Among the crowd, Vice President, Kamala Harris visited both locker rooms before the game. Los Angeles’ star and players union president, Neke Ogwumike thanked Harris and President Joe Biden for helping Griner get back home.
Brittney Griner sinks her first FG attempt of the game 👏
Welcome back, BG 🧡
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 20, 2023
The Mercury played an away game at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. It will not be the result Griner would’ve wanted in her first game after 19 months. However, Griner put in a strong performance, and she went on to play 32 minutes. Griner ended the game strongly, scoring 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists, which was the game-high. Last night’s performance was much better from Griner after her pre-season game.
Fans were in attendance early and were sporting T-shirts with Griner’s name and number. The WNBA All-Star even decided to photo-bomb a group of girls. After a strong start to the season, Griner will only be expected to keep getting better as the season goes on.
Brittney Griner received a warm welcome from the fans
It was a proper homecoming for the WNBA All-Star for whom a tribute video was played. The video had clips of her game and comments from the staff of the Los Angeles Sparks. The emotions on Griner’s face were visible, as she clapped and put her right hand across her heart to show her appreciation.
“The love from the fans when I came out was amazing,” said Griner. “I felt that. I didn’t experience that for a while,” she continued. Griner was given another round of applause when her name was announced. She hugged Ogwumike briefly before the two jumped against each other to get the game underway. She gave it her all, however, the lack of game time saw her taken off with 5:52 remaining on the clock.