Brittney Griner’s New Memoir Recalls Russian Prison: ‘I Didn’t Know How Resilient I Was’

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Brittney Griner‘s book Coming Home was released on Tuesday. In the book, she details the ten months she spent detained in Russia. The 6’9 center for the Phoenix Mercury was held in the country she played basketball in after she accidentally packed THC vape cartridges in her luggage.

Griner, now 33, details the harsh conditions and the challenges of being in captivity. The world saw her trial, where a handcuffed Griner was taken back and forth to a courtroom where she was forced to sit and watch the proceedings in a cage, per Russian convention.

MORE: Brittney Griner Tearfully Recounts Her Harrowing Detainment In Russia In Talk With Robin Roberts

But what went on behind the scenes was even worse. Griner says that she was photographed naked by workers in the jail. She told ESPN that by sharing everything she experienced she felt she was controlling the narrative.

“I mean, honestly, I’ve learned just being an open book and just putting it all out there, you don’t leave room for people to be like, “Well, what’s she holding back?” Because I didn’t hold back,” she said. “Even talking about how when they took me to the men’s prison and they made me strip and they got all the guys in there and, like, I went to go put on my clothes and they were like, no, turn around — they’re taking photos with the little Polaroid.

And I’m just like, well, I’m glad I played a professional sport. I’m in locker rooms. I’m always normally naked and I get physicals and I have to be naked in front of people. Those little things helped me out tremendously with, like, feeling a little bit OK with it, even though it was in a situation where it just wasn’t OK.”

Griner shared that in the months after her return, she realized that she hadn’t processed those things while they were happening, but when she did, she would break down. But she also says in the book that the ordeal made her realize how resilient she is.

I didn’t know how resilient I was. Like, how much I could really take. You always think you have this threshold, but that whole experience broke through that and more. I didn’t know how much I really listened to my pops and all the advice he gave me growing up, in all the lectures and things.”

Griner credits the support from her family, teammates, friends and her wife Cherelle kept her hopeful despite what she endured. Though any glance at her social media feeds and almost anything online about her brings trolls and haters who bully her and call her out of her name, she says she wrote the book so that her detractors and critics would recognize that she’s standing her ground.

“I thought about [closing my social media comments and DM’s], but then, that one DM I get from a young basketball player that’s asking me for advice or something and I see it,” Griner says. “Because I will respond back to people when they ask me a real question or they’re like, ‘Hey, I’m going through this, what did you do?’ I would miss that.

That could be one person that I help. I’m getting all these other people, but I don’t want to let them win, honestly. That’s why I won’t stop. They want me to just disappear.”

She added, “Winning would be me turning off my comments, turning off my DMs, not using social media, being quiet, not talking, not writing this book. That would be them winning. Because now they just silenced me. I just won’t be silenced. I just won’t. I’ll do it. Somebody has to. It’s tough shoes to wear, but I guess, uh, I guess I got to wear them.”

Watch Griner’s interview with MSNBC host Joy Reid below.

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Brittney Griner’s New Memoir Recalls Russian Prison: ‘I Didn’t Know How Resilient I Was’  was originally published on cassiuslife.com

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