Brittney Griner Returns to the Court After Russia Detention

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It’s been over a week since Brittney Griner made her return to the court at the Mercury vs Sparks season opener in Los Angeles. It’s safe to say she’s back like she never left. The WNBA star was welcomed by fellow players and fans, including Vice President Kamala Harris, all eager to see her play after being detained in Russia. 

Griner’s comeback had everyone tuned in. The match-up game between Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury was the most-viewed WNBA game in 24 years.  Though the outcome of the game could’ve been better for Griner and her team, she still managed to stand out and put up 18 points against the Sparks. 

If you recall, Griner was detained after being accused by Russian authorities on drug charges in February 2022. Officials allegedly found cannabis oil in her luggage while she was going through the Moscow airport, which they believed was enough to meet the threshold in Russia law. When the news was released,  the whole world was heartbroken and immediately took action to fight and advocate to get her back on US soil. The next 10 months of her life was spent in Russian jail. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was released from custody in December 2022 in a government prison exchange. It was a deep sigh of relief to know she was on her way back home.

Now, the Phoenix Mercury center is settling back on the court and we couldn’t be happier to watch her dominate the game again and continue to make her mark in women’s basketball. Mercury Coach Vanessa Nygaard expressed her thoughts on having Griner back to the New York Times. “It’s a day of joy,” she said. “We brought back this woman — this Black, gay woman — from a Russian jail, and America did that because they valued her.”

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