Britney Grenier’s Birthday Tribute by Staley, Orima, & More

They fondly think of her laughter, her hugs, her sweet tooth, her amazing skills, her love for her teammates. as such Britney Greiner She turns 32 on Tuesday, which also falls on the 243rd day since she was unjustly detained in Russia, and she will be spending her birthday away from home, loved ones and family at basketball.

Greiner, long ago Phoenix Mercury And the American basketball center, imprisoned in Russia since February 17, was arrested on charges of bringing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into the country. On August 4, Greiner was sentenced to nine years in prison, and efforts continue to try to arrange a diplomatic prisoner exchange that would allow her to return to the United States.

He said, “I think about her every day.” New York Liberty Coach Sandy Brundillo, who led the Mercury team from 2014 to 2021. “Not only is the player that she has evolved into. She has such an amazing laugh, which I can’t wait to hear again.”

Brondello and others have shared some of their favorite memories of Griner both on and off the field.

“There is a human side to BG that not many people outside know about,” the former NBA coach Fajr Staly He said. “I wish more people could see that and express themselves with the honesty that Britney does.”

Staley, who led the Gamecocks to two NCAA titles, including the 2022 tournament, led the US national team to gold medals at the 2018 FIBA ​​World Cup and the 2020 Summer Olympics. Griner played on both teams, and Staley remembered a time the quarterback was upset in practice. He was allowed to move on to the match.

“Once she lets you in, you get the best of Britney,” Staley said. “We were in Japan for the Olympics, and something happened to her in practice. I went up to it and said, ‘You know, I really love when you get angry and get more focused and just do what needs to be done.'”

Britney was like, ‘Oh, you’re not going to like it when I get really angry. I felt challenged, and when that happens, she’ll do what she needs to but she’ll let you know she’s not happy. So that kind of continued the game the next day. I went up to her in the game and said, ‘BG, don’t let anything change your balance.’ Just keep, do what you know how to do.”

Then after the match, in real BG form, she came up to me and said, ‘Thanks for what you said, Coach. Sorry, I was acting like a “B”. Because it takes a real person to realize how they act and respond. I didn’t really think about it, but I appreciate that she processed it, then came back and took responsibility. We laughed about it, because things happen and then they keep moving.

“BG is the absolute professional, and she does her job. But she is able to stop and take stock of something and then say, ‘Hey, I’m sorry.'” “Sometimes we don’t get that enough response in our sport and in our world.”

Turner, the striker, joined Mercury in 2019 and was his teammate for Griner for three years before Griner missed last season. Turner recalls a birthday dinner for Griner at Steak 44 in Phoenix last October that most of the team attended, shortly after Mercury lost to Chicago Sky in the 2021 WNBA Finals.

Turner said the group sat for more than two hours reminiscing about the season, everything from New York’s Turner scoring in a layup after Greiner tipped her a jump ball to Kia nurse Hitting the half-court bell hit the skies earlier in the season.

“It was a positive environment full of laughter and love,” Turner said. “It was also significant, because a lot of us will soon be moving abroad, so we knew it would be the last time we’d meet before WNBA 2022 training camp.”

After dinner, Greiner and her wife, Cheryl Greiner, invited the team to their home.

“We played with their dogs, watched TV and remembered more about our season. BG carelessly grabbed her latest Olympic gold at the coffee table and made sure to take a selfie with her as if I had just won the gold and he was standing on the podium.

“But that’s just the kind of person that BG considers: humble and welcoming to those around her. I fondly hold memories of that evening. It’s strange to think I last saw her in person a year ago; her birthday is clearly different this time. I was able to send her a message, with That, and I hope you receive it on her birthday.

“A lot of people who don’t know BG personally have many different opinions about her. But I can honestly say that BG is probably the warmest person I know. Her energy is contagious, and she’s the first person willing to help someone in need.”

Before winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics, Greiner helped American women do the same at the 2016 Rio Games, where Orima coached the team.

The 11-time National Champion recalled a moment he shared with Griner off the field.

“I think it was in 2013, we were touring Europe to get ready for the world championship.

“While we were in Italy I asked if anyone wanted to ride to my house where I was born. Only two guys said yes; Britney was one. When we got there, all my aunts, uncles and cousins ​​were waiting. Everyone got out of the truck and said hello and smiled. It was Everything is normal” until BG comes out. They all reacted with shock and joy; They had never seen anyone, man or woman, of this length in their lives.

“After a hug and a welcome, we went to my uncle’s house for lunch. Long story short, BG couldn’t get enough of food and wine. My relatives were so excited about how excited she was to taste their cheeses and meats. When we got to the airport the next day, it was all he wanted.” BG Know It is the place to buy and ship all the foods you just enjoyed.

“Britney is a legend in my hometown of Montella, Italy, and she will remain forever.”

Sandy Brundello, Liberty coach

When Brondello took charge of Mercury in 2014, Griner was entering her second season in the WNBA. She was the first draft pick in 2013 and had a good rookie year, but Brundello thought Grenier was just starting to scratch the surface of her talent.

Brondello’s husband and fellow coach, Olaf Lange, specifically worked with Griner on footwork and back-to-basket movements. “She didn’t always like it, but it really paid off,” said Brundello, who won the Mercury league title in 2014. “She’s one of the best players on the scene with her headers and backhands that she’s developed over the course of the hour.”

“Before a workout, she would always come into the office where my assistant coaches and I were and say, ‘Good morning!’ And to look at the training play to see what she was going to go into and prepare mentally for it. She always practiced early eating Jack in the Box. During the movie, I brought her candy to watch the video. She was very empathetic.

“She always came to work ready to do her best. I think all her teammates would say she’s one of the best teammates of all time, and I agree with that.”

Sheryl Reeve, Lynx and USA Basketball coach

Reeve marvels at the fights between the 6-foot-9 Greiner and 6-6 Minnesota Linux Center Silvia Fowles in paint. He coached Reeve Greiner as the assistant coach for the US women’s national team, and against her in the WNBA as the head coach for the Minnesota Links.

From a purely competitive point of view, how do you stand out for a Griner or Fowls?

“I think they might have asked each other sometimes,” Reeve said with a laugh. Like, ‘How do I do that versus you?’ “For Ciel, that would be early positioning and defending before catching the ball, and letting the great players catch the ball is a really bad idea, because you’re going to do that.

“With Britney, there’s also the jumping game that no one can get to.”

Reeve also pointed out another aspect of Griner: its ability to cover a lot of ground quickly. Reeve summoned a Lynx-managed play of former point guard Lindsay Wallen, known to be one of the best Finals players on the edge in league history.

“Lindsey had to put up a screen, get a screen, go to the basket and get a corner kick,” Reeve said. She used to do it, she did it with all kinds of opponents, and we’ve been running it for years. But we play Phoenix once and Lindsey gets the ball, she turns the corner and you think she got a corner.

“She doesn’t see Britney. Suddenly, Britney is right there and she punches her away. Lindsay is baffled, like, ‘Where the hell did she come from?'” How did you get that? But then Lindsay always had the “Where’s Britney?” mindset you had to keep in mind that with her height and long stride, she could look totally off the stage and then be there.

“I always say to our team, ‘When we play Britney Grenier, there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity in the shots you take. “

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