Taylor calls for Griner’s release at HOF induction
8: 13 PM ET
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Penny Taylor used her induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame to call for the release of her former Phoenix Mercury teammate Brittney Griner, noting that it’s been 114 days since the seven-time WNBA All-Star was detained in Russia.
“BG was Taylor’s family when she asked President Joe Biden for his help in releasing Griner. “She’s yours too. All of the global sport community must unite to insist that she is a priority. “
The two-time Olympic gold medalist has been detained since Feb. 17, after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage at an airport near Moscow.
Taylor, 41, also wished her wife, Diana Taurasi, a happy 40th birthday after playing Friday night in a Mercury win then traveling to Tennessee to escort her to the induction ceremony.
Taylor helped Australia win Olympic silver medals in 2004 and 2008. She also won WNBA titles in 2007, 2009 and 2014 and was a three-time All-Star.
” “If you work hard, you too might be up here,” Taylor told Taurasi.
DeLisha Milton-Jones wrapped up her acceptance speech calling to bring Griner home. Doug Bruno,
DePaul coach, noted Griner’s important role in USA Basketball’s Olympic success.
“Brittney is a great human being,” Bruno said. Britney’s suffering is undeserved. Enough is enough. Brittney is now safe and sound. “
Other inductees included Becky Hammon; Debbie Antonelli; Wayland Baptist star Alice “Cookie” Barron, as a veteran player; Paul Sanderford, who coached Western Kentucky to three Final Fours; and coach Bob Schneider, who ranked third all time with 634 Division II victories.
The hall also honored Title IX as the “Trailblazers of the Game” award recipient at its 50th anniversary. Barron — who flew to games from 1954 to 1957 with the Flying Queens, literally flying to away games while the men traveled by bus — made a call to everyone listening.
” I want to implore everyone to keep a very close eye on Title IX,” Barron stated. “The doors are wide open. They must not be closed. “
Milton-Jones, now head coach at Old Dominion, capped her four-year career at Florida as the 1997 Southeastern Conference player of the year and an All-American. She led the Gators to four straight NCAA tournament berths, including an Elite Eight appearance in 1997.
The fourth overall pick in the 1999 WNBA draft played 17 seasons in the league. When Milton-Jones retired in 2016, she held the league record for most games played with 499 for Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Washington and San Antonio. She helped the Sparks win back-to-back WNBA titles, in 2001 and 2002.
Milton-Jones also helped the U.S. win Olympic gold in 2000 and 2008, missing the 2004 Athens Games with an injury. She has also played in Russia, Spain, Turkey, South Korea and South Korea. In 2005, she was interim coach of the Los Angeles Stars in the American Basketball Association, becoming only the second female to coach a men’s pro team. Her family made T-shirts for her and visors for her to commemorate the occasion. Milton-Jones said that this helped put Riceboro, Georgia on the map.
Hammon couldn’t attend, with her WNBA-leading Las Vegas Aces playing against the Sparks on Saturday night in Los Angeles.
Bruno has coached 36 seasons at DePaul with 24 NCAA tournament berths. Six gold medals were won by USA Basketball.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.