The basketball star changed fashion. Now this has become Russia’s leverage over the US

The two-time Olympic champion has not been shy about publicly admitting that he is gay or that he is annoyed by “racist” America. He also won’t listen to the US national anthem, saying it’s not an African-American national anthem. And when her future husband got mad at her in the past, she just jumped on him and they were served. It became a mess, which was also widely covered by the prestigious American media.

Or he packed hashish on a plane to Moscow, where he headed in February to earn millions of dollars in the magnificent Russian basketball league. Maybe he does that every time he goes to Russia as a big celebrity. But times have suddenly changed.

Russia no longer needs Griner to freshen up its women’s basketball and entertain rich Russians. Now the American woman in the new constellation of the world is suitable for her as a tool of political warfare.

So the absolute superstar sits in a Russian prison, hoping to get out sooner than the 9 years the Russian judiciary has given him.

I always wanted to be in the Air Force. But I think I’ve gotten past the fighters. They are not big enough for me.

Brittney Griner

What does 31-year-old Griner, the son of a veteran and a police officer, really want? How did he become famous and what is behind him? There’s a lot of it. Much of the world sees her as a trailblazer, a great, famous black woman who isn’t afraid to admit she’s gay.

As a girl, she probably experienced unpleasant moments when those around her were mocked not only because of her orientation, but also because of her unusual height. However, at the same time, he didn’t go through what millions of other black kids in the US did, including many famous athletes. He didn’t have to rise from the bottom of poverty to the heights of fame and fortune, like Mike Tyson or LeBron James before him.

Father soldier and policeman

The girl from Houston had it easier. His family affairs are fine and the family is safe. While the mother took care of the four children, the father, Raymond, was a Harris County sheriff’s deputy in Houston, a respected Marine veteran, having served in 1968 and 1969 in Vietnam.

Griner attended Nimitz High School, a public school in Houston. It is true that this is not a prestigious facility for the elite. While African-Americans made up the majority ten years ago, now Hispanics have overtaken them. Less than four percent of students are white. But the school made a name for itself by always playing multiple sports and producing mainly future American NFL football players.

More on Brittney Griner and American women in Russian sports:

Brittney Griner, gifted by God with excellent physical parameters, is no different. Besides basketball, he also tried volleyball. And because as a teenager he was already impressed with his height and arm length of almost 220 cm (now he is 222 cm), starting from the second year he even trained in the men’s basketball team. At the same time, he began working with the school’s American football coach to build leg strength. At that time, he was diligently practicing especially his impressive basketball drop into the basket with a run-up. He is having a blast. A junior career video of the trick had more than 2.7 million views on YouTube in its first year. When star Shaquille O’Neal saw him, he agreed to meet the young talent in person.

Even then, Brittney had something of her father in her – discipline and high self-confidence. “It helps my confidence to know that people have high expectations of me,” said Griner at just 19 years old. “I have high expectations for myself.”

He wanted to join the fighters

Even though he was off the board, he didn’t get lost. He was a computer literate student who learned to repair cars and became a fan of the Military Channel television program. “I always wanted to be in the Air Force,” he said at the time. “But I think I’ve outgrown the fighters. They didn’t grow them for me.’

In 2009, he was named the top high school basketball player by the prestigious She was soon selected by the Phoenix Mercury team and immediately won the ESPY Award for Best Female College Athlete. In 2013, the aforementioned “release” came, followed by a contract with the global company Nike. This is the first time the company has signed such a partnership with an openly gay athlete.

Regarding punishment for Griner

Griner is the only American NCAA basketball player to reach 2,000 points and 500 blocks. In 2012, he was named AP Player of the Year and Final Four Most Outstanding Player. She won two Olympic gold medals (2016 and 2021), is an NCAA champion, has a gold medal from the FIBA ​​​​World Cup and the WNBA Championship. It is widely believed that she increased the popularity of women’s basketball in the USA.

She’s a superstar at home, but the salaries of female basketball stars in the US can’t compare to men’s. This annoyed Griner. That’s also why she started playing basketball in the off-season in Russia in 2014 with many top female teammates from America. While his main salary in Phoenix Mercury reached a maximum of 227,900 dollars per year (approx. 5.5 million crowns), in Yekaterinburg he collected a staggering million dollars (24 million crowns) per season. Because of this, Griner is now a millionaire.

Domestic violence and dislike of the national anthem

In August 2014, Griner became engaged to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson. It looks like great love, but they had a bit of an “Italian” household together. After half a year, they were arrested for arguing and fighting. Police had to intervene at their home in suburban Phoenix, Arizona, after several people around them couldn’t stop the fight. Both suffered minor injuries and were booked into the Maricopa County Jail for the day. It also had an impact on the sports field, as American League management suspended both players for seven games. In addition, Griner was required to undergo 26 weeks of domestic violence therapy.

Despite the incident, the two married in Phoenix in May and soon after announced that Johnson had become pregnant through artificial insemination. But it wasn’t good anymore. The next day after less than a month of marriage, Griner filed for divorce due to Johnson’s alleged cheating and coercion. She gave birth to twins in October, and Griner was ordered to pay child support.

Griner’s next relationship with Cherelle Watson has been developing more promisingly since 2018. The two women got married, and when Brittney was imprisoned in Russia, her husband expressed strong support and advocated for her release.

On the situation surrounding Griner’s release:

Opposition to the US anthem began in 2020 and is linked to protests surrounding the death of African-American George Floyd. At the time, Griner and teammate Brianna Turner called on the WNBA to stop playing the US national anthem before games. The main argument is that it was made by white people and therefore cannot be a fully African American anthem.

“I mean this in no disrespect to our country. My father was in Vietnam and was a lawyer for 30 years. Before basketball, I wanted to be a policewoman. I am proud of my country. But whatever, I will protest. Personally, I don’t think he belongs in sports,” he told the Arizona Republic. “When the national anthem became the national anthem (in 1931), black people had no rights at that time. It’s hard to respect a song that doesn’t even represent all Americans when it was first created.”

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