Brittney Griner makes her Phoenix Mercury debut after being released from Russian detention.
Brittney Griner of the United States made her first appearance for the Phoenix Mercury since being released from a Russian prison on Friday.
Griner, 32, was imprisoned in Russia for ten months for carrying cannabis oil before being released in a high-profile prisoner swap in December.
She was yelled into the court and played for 17 minutes, scoring in the opening minute with a two-point shot.
“I didn’t think I’d be sitting here,” she admitted later.
“I didn’t think I’d be playing basketball so soon.”
Brittney Griner is a freed US basketball player.
Griner, a two-time Olympic champion and one of the world’s greatest and most visible female basketball players, finished with 10 points and three rebounds in the Los Angeles Sparks’ 90-71 loss.
It was her first Mercury match since 2021.
“I didn’t know how it was going to go, getting back into it,” she admitted. “I’m grateful to be here, no doubt about it.”
“It feels good, and you certainly feel appreciated.” But I’m looking forward to the day when it’s just basketball.”
Griner, a Russian Premier League player, was arrested at a Moscow airport in February 2022 for carrying cannabis oil. She pleaded guilty to the accusations, received a nine-year prison sentence, and was transported to a correctional colony.