Brittney Griner Is Creating a New Normal, for Herself and the W.N.B.A.

PHOENIX — Brittney Griner embarked on a four-day itinerary that would disrupt anyone’s circadian rhythm.

First came the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, where she was decked out in a sharp, black suit that Saturday night. President Biden pointed to her in the audience and said, “Boy, I can hardly wait to see you back on the court.”

Soon she was rushing to catch a flight, landing in Phoenix at 4 a.m. for the start of W.N.B.A. training camp with the Mercury. Then she hustled back east, to New York, for her first Met Gala. She wore a sleek tan suit, and her wife, Cherelle Griner, was in a strapless white gown, both custom outfits by Calvin Klein. They mingled with A-list celebrities that night, but Brittney needed to be back in Phoenix by Tuesday afternoon for more basketball and, she had hoped, a nap.

The sparkling events, time-zone hopping and overall spectacle were overwhelming but perhaps also came as a kind of relief for Brittney Griner, who spent nearly 10 months detained in Russia and returned to the United States in December as a new symbol of hope. Ensnared in a geopolitical showdown between Washington and Moscow, Griner drew attention not only to herself and to the plight of other foreign detainees but also to the financial disparities facing women in sports that had brought her to Russia in the first place.

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