Brittney Griner’s return to the court is coming.
The Phoenix Mercury All-Star took to Instagram on Friday to reveal that she will return to the team for the 2023-24 season in her first statement since returning home from Russia last week.
“It feels so good to be home!” Griner wrote in her post, including a photo of her stepping off a plane onto U.S. soil after being detained in Russian prisons for nearly 10 months following her arrest on drug smuggling charges at a Moscow airport in February. “The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. 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.
“… 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.”
The Mercury shared Griner’s statement on Instagram, writing, “Love Always, BG #42.”
Griner also included a photo of her hugging her wife, Cherelle Griner in their first embrace following her return. Mercury general manager Jim Pitman, team president Vince Kozar and Griner’s teammate, Diana Taurasi surprised her on the tarmac in San Antonio, according to ESPN’s T.J. Quinn.
In her letter, Griner expressed her gratitude to those who advocated for her release, including her fellow WNBA peers and the entire WNBA family, along with her agents at Wasserman, her Russian legal team, activists and grassroots organizations.
Griner gave a special thanks to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken and the entire Biden-Harris Administration for facilitating her return home. She also noted the President’s work to bring home U.S. marine Paul Whelan, who remains imprisoned in Russia.
“As I transition home to enjoy the holidays with my family, I want to acknowledge and thank the entire PISA staff and medical team at the San Antonio Fort Sam Houston Base,” Griner wrote, referring to the military medical base she attended upon her release. “I appreciate the time and care to make sure I was okay and equipped with the tools for this new journey.”
In a statement, Griner’s agent, Lindsay Colas said Tuesday, “Brittany Griner pulled on a pair of black Chuck Taylor sneakers, Phoenix Suns shorts and a T-shirt touting Title IX, and picked up a basketball Sunday for the first time in almost 10 months. Her first act was a dunk.”
President Biden tweeted about Griner’s release last Thursday, writing at the time that she was on her way back to the United States. The post included smiling photos of the president and Vice President Harris in the Oval Office with Cherelle.
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