Brittney Griner makes her first appearance on the court | Photo Credit: USA Today via Reuters

Brittney Griner returns to her home state this week in back-to-back games

Before heading on the road, the Dallas Wings defeated the Minnesota Lynx, 94-89, in a Commissioner’s Cup matchup. Prior to the game, the Wings signed Kalani Brown for the rest of the season under the emergency salary cap hardship due to the injuries of rookie Lou Lopez Senechal and guard Diamond Deshields who both suffered knee injuries. The Baylor alum was waived prior to the start of the season and could possibly be released again pending the recovery of either Deshields or Senechal. The signing of Brown paid off immediately as she would put up twelve points and seven rebounds in the win. Three other Wing players would go on to score twenty plus points with forward Natasha Howard leading the team with 25 points, Western Conference Player of the Month Arike Ogunbowale with 21 points, and Satou Sabally with 23 points and 11 rebounds giving her a double double. 

The Commissioner’s Cup is an in-season competition throughout the season where the players compete for a prize pool and an additional pool for charitable and civic organizations. This is the third season of the competition with the previous winners being the Seattle Storm and the current WNBA champions, the Las Vegas Aces. This season, the Dallas Wings are competing not only for the pool but they are making a donation to Sisters Network, Inc. Sisters are an organization dedicated to “increasing local and national attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American community.” As of this article, the Wings are 2-0 in the Commissioner’s Cup competition. For more information on Sisters Network, visit

Unfortunately, the Wings will be coming home with back-to-back losses in Washington and Connecticut to host the Phoenix Mercury and their center, Brittney Griner on Wednesday and Friday this week. Griner made headlines last season when she was detained (and later arrested) at a Russian airport for possessing vape cartridges with less than a gram of cannabis oil (which she was prescribed in the States) in February of last year. Griner was arrested and originally sentenced to nine years and a $16,000 USD fine for something that is normally a fifteen-day sentence, but it’s believed that she was used as a way for Russia to make a deal to bring arms dealer Viktor Bout back to his native Russia. The exchange was agreed upon and Griner was flown back to the United States in December 2022 to mixed responses from a political standpoint. In that time, her wife Cherelle, the WNBA, and countless others worked nonstop to bring her home and continues to bring attention to other causes. 

Speaking of charitable work, the next two games are filled with events supporting causes that the Houston native supports starting with BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive in which game attendees are encouraged to donate new and gently worn shoes to College Park Arena. Founded in 2016, it all started when Griner was driving home from practice and saw people with no shoes during the hot Arizona summer. She would drive around with shoes in her trunk and give them to those in need. The Mercury organization caught wind of the generosity and collaborated with her to start a drive and this would help give shoes to thousands in the Phoenix area. Another cause is a collaborative effort of both teams and Griner, Bring Our Families Home. Right now, there are fifty four innocent Americans being held hostage or wrongly detained abroad and nine have been brought home as stated on the campaign’s website. Bring Our Families Home helps bring attention to wrongfully detained Americans who have been held hostage for a few months to even ten plus years.  Family members of those being held captive abroad will be in attendance to bring more awareness and exposure to the initiative. 

On Friday Night, the Dallas Wings will have their annual Pride Night. Attendees will receive colored rally towels and there will be LGBTQIA+ pregame mixers and other things throughout the night to celebrate diversity and those in the community. Both nights seem to be sold out, so check your local listings and tune in if you can’t attend. Both games start at 7pm central time.

Follow Rashad Miller on all social media @theuncoolurban for more sports content as well as his Youtube channel under the same name.