Brittney Griner smiling

Brittney Griner (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Longtime women’s basketball star Brittney Griner is not taking living in America for granted after her freedom was taken from her overseas.

Before her stint in a Russian prison, Brittney Griner had been outspoken about being on the court during the National Anthem, saying, “I’m not going to be out there for the National Anthem. If the (WNBA) continues to want to play it, that’s fine. It will be all season long; I’ll not be out there.”

She added: “I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season.”

That was during a 2020 interview, and things have certainly changed since then.

Griner, who recently got her 2024 regular started after recovering from an injury, was arrested in Russia for the majority of 2022 after she was found to have cannabis in her backpack while at an airport.

Griner was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian prison on charges of smuggling drugs into the country. She spent most of 2022 imprisoned before Joe Biden and his team were able to work a trade that sent Viktor Bout, the so-called Merchant of Death, back to Russia.

Now that she has been back for over a year, Griner says the national anthem “definitely hit different.”

The Mercury superstar says she no longer takes what she has in America for granted.

“I’m grateful to be here, that’s for sure. I’m not going to take a day for granted,” Griner said via NY Post. “Hearing the national anthem, it definitely hit different,” Griner said. “It’s like when you go for the Olympics, you’re sitting there, about to get gold put on your neck, the flags are going up, and the anthem is playing, it just hits different. … Being here today … it means a lot.”

Brittney Griner To Represent America After Being Named to Third USA Basketball Olympic Roster

Brittney Griner (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

USA Basketball has announced the official women’s roster for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris, and Brittney Griner is set to be on it.

The Olympics are a patriotic event, so this will be the first time we will see her during the Anthem after being released from a Russian prison.