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Brittney Griner will be on the court for the Phoenix Mercury next WNBA season : NPR


Phoenix Mercury Center Brittney Griner plays during a game in September 2021. In her first public comments since being released from Russia, she said she will compete in the next WNBA season .

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Phoenix Mercury Center Brittney Griner plays during a game in September 2021. In her first public comments since being released from Russia, she said she will compete in the next WNBA season .

Michael Conroy/AP

In her first public statement since her release from Russia, Brittney Griner said she will compete in the upcoming WNBA season.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist shared the news – and expressed gratitude to those who helped bring her home – in an interview. Friday Instagram posta week after she return to America in a prisoner exchange.

“I also want to make one thing clear,” she wrote. “I plan to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I hope to be able to say ‘thank you’ soon to everyone who has supported, written, and posted directly to me.”

2023 WNBA season start on May 19. Griner was Mercury’s top scorer and own goalie in the 2021 WNBA season, in which Phoenix lost in the final.

Griner went to Russia to play for a team there during the US season, which many WNBA players do because basketball gender pay gap. She was detained in February and sentenced nine years in prison about drug smuggling

Griner arrived in San Antonio last Friday after being released in a prisoner exchange. The White House said at the time she was in good health and in good spirits.

“It’s great to be at home!” Griner wrote on Instagram. “The past 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I’ve dug deep to keep my faith and it’s the love from so many of you that has kept me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you everyone for your help. your help.”

She thanked her family, the WNBA, her legal team, the San Antonio Fort Sam Houston Base Medical team, the Biden-Harris administration, and a number of individuals and organizations that campaigned for her release. do for her.

Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, told NPR’s All things Considered on Wednesday that the athlete is doing well and “benefits from all the resources the United States government provides to people like her, who have been through a lot of hardship and are now entering the final phase of life.” this next phase of reintegration.”

Griner was out on the basketball court, she said, emphasizing that “the most important thing is what she’s doing right now, it’s all her choice.”

Colas added that Griner wants to use his newly founded platform to help people, especially others who have been wrongfully detained abroad. That includes Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine first imprisoned in 2018, who continues to be detained in Russia even though two other Americans have been released there this year. Her agent said Griner “constantly asked about him”.

Griner herself addressed Whelan’s plight in part of her Instagram post she sent to President Joe Biden.

“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home,” she wrote. “I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone who helped bring me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Everyone in the family. Every family deserves to be complete.”

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