PHOENIX — After spending a few days mingling with a who’s who of A-list celebrities, Mercury star Brittney Griner said Wednesday that the product of her newfound fame can be “a little overwhelming” at times but is also something she is embracing as a “bigger” platform to help others.
Griner shared her feelings during the Mercury’s media day on Wednesday in Phoenix, which came a couple days after attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington D.C. on Saturday night and the Met Gala in New York City on Monday night. In both places, Griner was a celebrity in her own right, meeting everyone from President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden to Usher to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
With Griner’s name having been amplified through social media, the news and by word-of-mouth while she was detained in Russia for 10 months, she’s as well-known as some of the celebrities she met over the weekend.
“I didn’t think it could get that big, but I mean it’s cool because now I’m able to reach even more people and bring them into the WNBA and then also keep them aware of other detainees that are still left behind right now and that we’re trying to get home,” Griner said. “So, just using that bigger outlet to continue to support others that are in need or don’t have the spotlight or the media coverage that they should be able to get.”
At the Met Gala, Mahomes approached Griner, she was able to meet Usher — which she said was “pretty dope” — and spent time talking to Dwyane Wade.
“It was an honor to be there,” Griner said. “It was magical, just meeting everybody, seeing all the stars that were there was, I mean, it was pretty dope.”
It was also exhausting being Griner during a “crazy” few days.
She flew home from Washington late Saturday night and didn’t land in Arizona until 4 a.m. She went home and slept until 9 a.m. and then had the Mercury’s first training camp practice two hours later. After Sunday’s practice, she flew to New York for the Met Gala and flew back Monday night after the event, landing in Arizona around 1 a.m. so she could be at practice Tuesday.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Griner said. “I have a lot of respect for the stars that do that. That is not me. I don’t see how they do it but it was amazing. I mean, like I said, two big honors to be able to go and be there, but it was a long couple days. I’m taking a big nap tonight or today.”
Griner flew private to both events and hopes that kind of convenience can eventually be extended throughout the WNBA during the season.
There is an assumption that Griner will need to fly charter this season due to security concerns. On Wednesday, Griner said she couldn’t say much about those security concerns but added that “things will be different this year, for sure.”
She was asked if she felt comfortable flying commercial, if, indeed, she will this season.
“The being comfortable part, it’s just weird,” Griner said. “It’s just always different experiences that make you feel different, but the league’s doing a good job. They’re helping out in different ways and the Mercury, they’re going to make sure I’m in the best position where I have support and everything will be good.
“But definitely would love to make all those flights private. That would be nice, not just for me and my team, but for the whole league. We all deserve it. We work so hard. We do so much and it would be nice when we finally get to that point where we’re rewarded on that end, too.”