Brittney Griner intends to play basketball this season for the Phoenix Mercury. That was the emphatic takeaway from an Instagram statement on Friday, her first since being released from a Russian prison.
Upon her arrival back in the United States after 10 months behind bars in Russia, the WNBA star was medically evaluated at the San Antonio Fort Sam Houston Base, where she worked out for the first time and went straight for a dunk while her basketball future remained unknown.
“I appreciate the time and care to make sure I was okay and equipped with the tools for this new journey,” Griner wrote.
“I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon.”
Griner was detained at a Moscow area airport in February due to possession of vaping cartridges that contained hashish oil, an illegal substance in Russia. She pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to nine years in prison on Aug. 7. She appealed the sentence and it was denied in October.
The U.S. swapped the WNBA star for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout on Dec. 8.
“It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn,” Griner wrote. “I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.”
Griner also addressed President Joe Biden in the statement, expressing plans to aid efforts to bring retired Marine Paul Whelan home as well.
SOURCE: Yahoo Sports