PHOENIX — Britney Greiner has embarked on a four-day itinerary that will disrupt anyone’s circadian rhythm.
First, she attended a White House Correspondents’ Club dinner in Washington, and that Saturday night she wore a sharp black suit. President Biden pointed to her in her audience and said, “I can’t wait to have you back on the court.”
Soon she was rushing to catch her flight, landing in Phoenix at 4am in preparation for the start of WNBA training camp aboard the Mercury. She then hurried back east to New York to attend her first ever Met Gala. She wore a sophisticated tan suit, and her wife, Sherrel Griner, wore a strapless white gown, both of which were custom Calvin Klein outfits. They hooked up with A-list celebs that night, but Britney needed to be back in Phoenix by Tuesday afternoon for more basketball or her much-needed nap.
The glitzy events, time zone jumps, and overall spectacle were overwhelming, but perhaps also a kind of relief for Britney Greiner. She was held in Russia for nearly 10 months before returning to the United States in December as a symbol of renewed hope. Caught in the geopolitical confrontation between Washington and Moscow, Greiner is not only concerned with the plight of herself and other foreign internees, but of the women in sports who brought her to Russia in the first place. It also focused on the economic disparities faced by
On Friday, Greiner will return to the court for his first official WNBA appearance in 579 days. Because of her, the league is different now. The high-profile issues in her detention are not new and unlikely to be easily resolved. But she has galvanized a strong fan base and sports officials eager to welcome her back to her hometown and use this moment with her to foster her change.
“We’ve wanted change for a long time, but now we’re really starting to demand it,” said Minnesota Lynx forward Nafeesa Collier. “We’re starting to get a little impatient about that, and we recognize that the lack of funding is still a problem, but really, really soon, we’ll have the resources to be treated like athletes. We are working to make it possible.”
Why Britney Greiner Was in Russia
Russian customs officials said in February 2022 that e-cigarette cartridges containing hash oil were found in Greiner’s luggage when he returned to play for the professional team UMMC Yekaterinburg, for which he allegedly paid at least $1 million. They found him inside and detained him at an airport near Moscow. She was convicted on drug charges and sentenced to nine years in a penal colony, but she was released in December in a prisoner exchange with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The US State Department announced that she was unjustly detained.
The WNBA, now in its 27th season, has long seen dozens of players go overseas in the off-season each year for higher salaries, but the league has given them the money-making additions in-state. I am trying to provide a method for The WNBA’s top salary is about $230,000, but it was half that amount a few years ago. A top player like Greiner, a seven-time All-Star center, can coach hundreds of thousands of players from international teams. Many people were unaware of this dynamic until Mr. Griner was detained, expressing shock and frustration on social media and on television.
“I’d love to pay the utility bills because of my love of gaming, but I can’t,” Griner said at his first press conference since his release last month.
The Associated Press reported. 67 Of the league’s 144 players, they are still playing internationally this offseason, indicating a strong pull for additional income opportunities. However, given Griner’s detention and the war in Ukraine, the players avoided Russian organizations that have historically benefited teams from countries such as Italy and Turkey. About 90 players played internationally five years ago.
Collier, 26, who played for international teams during the WNBA offseason, said young players gain important experience overseas. But she has doubts about playing abroad again after her experience with Greiner and because she wants to spend more time with her daughter, who turns one next Thursday. she said there was.
“This is how you build a name that is known to the world.”
WNBA officials attribute the players’ modest salaries to historically modest — and perhaps marginal — earnings and media attention. Many of her WNBA players are accustomed to entering the league with less media hype and sometimes playing in front of crowds much smaller than they did in college.
Mercury guard Diana Taurasi said, “I’ve been attending since college and it was the hottest ticket in the country.” Before she became the WNBA’s career scoring leader, Diana Taurasi played for UConn. She continued: “How do you get the hottest ticket in the country to the best basketball player in the world in the WNBA? I think it will happen.”
Greiner, who joined Mercury in 2013, has been a star since becoming known for his dunks at Baylor. At his first press conference after his return, Greiner pleaded with the unusually large number of reporters to come cover the games during the season.
“A league is a league that needs celebrities,” said Candy Lee, a professor of journalism and integrated marketing communications at Northwestern University. She added: “The league can take advantage of it. Mercury can take advantage of it.”
Greiner’s rise to interest in the WNBA is consistent with the broader momentum in women’s sports in recent years. According to ESPN, last month’s NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship game averaged 9.9 million viewers, breaking records.
The WNBA team is set to play a record 40 regular-season games this year, and the league has struck a multi-year deal with Scripps to air Friday night games on the network ION. Griner’s first two games of the regular season, Los Angeles on Friday and Phoenix vs. Chicago on Sunday, will be televised nationally by ESPN. 2022 Regular Season Ratings Up 16 percent It was the most-watched season in 14 years, surpassing the previous year, according to the league.
If you look at the NBA playoffs, you’ll notice that WNBA players such as Las Vegas ace Candice Parker and Dallas Wings Alike Ogumbowale are heavily featured in commercials.the latest puma announced Briana Stewart’s second signature shoe for Liberty. Greiner, who became the first openly gay athlete to sign with Nike in 2014, will remain with the brand, but does the company have plans to sell her this season? Didn’t answer questions about what.
A few weeks before Greiner was detained, WNBA Commissioner Kathy Engelbart announced that the league had raised $75 million from investors and would use it for marketing and revamping the league’s business model.
College stars like Louisiana State University’s Angel Reese, University University’s Paige Backers, and Iowa’s Kaitlyn Clarke will be on the rise in the years to come, with dynamic game play, name recognition, and national television exposure. Ready to enter the league.
“That’s why we spend so much marketing money on some star players,” Engelbert said. She added: “That’s how you build a name that’s known to the world.”
Since Griner’s detention, travel safety concerns have fueled a heated debate about travel within the WNBA
Unlike the NBA and many top men’s and women’s college teams, WNBA players fly commercial airlines to their games. This has been a perennial bane for players who have had to sleep at airports or rush to games because of delays. It is widely believed that Greiner will need to travel personally this year, but neither Mercury nor the WNBA have disclosed her plans.
“We want to keep all those flights private,” Greiner said. “It’s good. Not just for me and my team, but for the league as a whole. We all deserve it. We work so hard. It would be great if we could finally get to that point.”
The WNBA said even though some owners may be willing to provide charter flights for their teams, they cannot afford to pay more than $20 million a season for charter flights. Charter flights are prohibited by collective bargaining agreements between team owners and players’ associations as an unfair competitive advantage. The WNBA has fined Liberty $500,000 for secretly chartering flights to select games during the 2021 season.
The league announced in April that it would operate charter flights for teams playing consecutive days during the regular season and all playoff games. The WNBA has previously made exceptions in similar situations.
“We will continue to build this model and work on it bit by bit,” said Engelbert. “I don’t want to jeopardize the financial viability of the league because once you do it you basically have to keep doing it forever.”
On Thursday, the WNBA Players Association announced a deal with Priority Pass to give players access to airport lounges that can provide meals, spa treatments and a place to sleep. In a statement, Los Angeles star forward Nuneka Ogwumike, president of the players union, said he hoped other “partners” would see the deal as a “call to action.”
The union’s executive director, Terry Jackson, said in a statement that the deal was “an important step in the right direction.”
“She affects the world”
Mercury president Vince Kozar said there was an eerie cloud hanging over the franchise during every practice, media session and game without Greiner last season. Short video clips of her released in Russia showed her being handcuffed and caged. On the day Greiner was sentenced, the Mercury players had to get together and cry and then play the game. “You were carrying the weight of uncertainty and fear,” Cozar said.
Finally, all of a sudden, it said goodbye when Greiner was released in December. Cozar didn’t expect Griner to immediately announce whether he would play in the WNBA again, but said he will play when he returns to the United States.
Greiner may have been the most successful WNBA player last season. Players across her league sent her letters, which became her only means of communication with her. In her letters with her Cosar, Griner informs her about her organization and its developments, rather than asking about them.
“Basketball was one of the things that was taken away from her, how she impacts the world, that’s central to her identity, and so many of her relationships revolve around it. It was just a reminder that it’s built,” Cozar said.
Greiner will lead the league in hugs this season. She was doodling and taking selfies in the tunnel during a preseason game with the Sparks in Phoenix last week. It was her first act since she returned home. During Griner’s pre-fight introduction, she cheered louder than her modest crowd expected. Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard said it sent chills down her spine.
Greiner towered above the rest of the court and scored the first bucket with a quick turnaround in the first minute of the first quarter. Alright, let’s go, Greiner thought to himself. Lately, she’s had a lot of things that were unfamiliar to her. Do you make a living flying jet planes? It’s not her, she said with a laugh. But her first shot was comfortable, she thought.