Brittney Griner has stated that she will return to basketball shortly after being released from a Russian prison.
Last week, the WNBA player was released in exchange for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
She spoke for the first time since Friday’s exchange, praising President Joe Biden and promising to play for the Phoenix Mercury again this season.
“It feels so lovely to be home,” she stated in an Instagram statement.
“Over the past ten months, difficulties have surfaced at every possible juncture. I had to dig deep to preserve my faith, and it was the love of so many of you that kept me going.”
I also want to make one thing quite clear: I intend to play basketball this season with the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.
She stated she had left Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, where she had spent a week resting after arriving in the United States.
Griner also promised to use her position to help Biden release Paul Whelan, an ex-marine who has been detained in Russia for over four years on spying charges.
The Biden administration drew criticism for omitting to include Whelan in the Griner-Bout Prisoner deal. The United States stated it had the option of bringing Griner home.
Paul Whelan and other Americans should be brought home, according to Griner, who asked “everyone who played a part in getting me home to continue their efforts” to secure his release.
She stated, “Every family deserves to be complete.”
Griner was caught in February at a Moscow airport carrying cannabis oil and was later transported to a prison camp.
She was detained in Russia for 10 months before the US administration, under pressure from activists, lawmakers, and individuals close to Griner, reached an agreement with Russia to trade her for Bout, who was flown back after being held by the US for 12 years.
The intricate transfer comprised two private planes taking the duo from Moscow and Washington to Abu Dhabi airport and then back home.
Griner, 32, is one of America’s most well-known athletes. During the US basketball season, the two-time Olympic gold medalist plays center for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.
Her representative recently stated that the actress had played basketball for the first time since her imprisonment at a US army station in Texas.