Brittney Griner returns to motion for first time since being launched from detention in Russia | NBA Information

Brittney Griner has performed with Phoenix Mercury for the primary time since 2021, returning to motion in a preseason recreation after almost 10 months of detention in Russia.

The 2-time Olympic gold medallist was launched from a Russian jail in a high-profile prisoner change with the US late final yr after she was arrested in February 2022 on drug costs for possessing hashish oil.

Griner pleaded responsible to the fees and was sentenced to 9 years in jail.

“I did not assume I might be sitting right here. I did not assume I might be enjoying basketball this shortly,” Griner advised reporters after Mercury’s 90-71 loss to Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night time.

“I did not know the way it was going to go, getting again into it. Grateful to be right here, that is for certain.”

Griner was greeted to roars of celebration at Phoenix’s Footprint Middle as she exited the tunnel and strode onto the courtroom.

Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury (Associated Press)
Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medallist

The eight-time All-Star obtained on the board within the first minute with a two-point shot, and had 10 factors with three rebounds throughout 17 minutes.

“I did not really feel like I used to be gassed or dying. [I’m] knocking off these cobwebs, eliminating the unhealthy habits.”

The 2-time WNBA scoring champion has been topic to huge media curiosity since her return to the US, utilizing her super-sized platform to champion the reason for different Individuals detained overseas.

The 32-year-old, who’s engaged on a memoir about her arrest and imprisonment, mentioned the season forward additionally supplied a chance to deal with the sport once more.

“It feels good, you positively really feel appreciated,” mentioned Griner. “However I am unable to await the day the place it is sort of like simply basketball.”

Mercury open their common season on the highway in Los Angeles in opposition to Sparks on Could 19.