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Brittney Griner plays first WNBA game since detainment in Russia

The Phoenix Mercury star got a standing ovation when she was announced before the game's start.
Brittney Griner plays first WNBA game since detainment in Russia
Posted at 8:45 AM, May 13, 2023

Brittney Griner played her first WNBA preseason game since being detained in Russia for 10 months.

When Griner walked onto the court, she gave out hugs and high-fives to players, coaches and fans.

The Phoenix Mercury star got a standing ovation when she was announced before the game's start.

Griner played for 17 minutes and scored 10 points in her team's 90-71 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night.

The basketball star was teary-eyed when she spoke to the media again for the first time since her release. She received cheers and applause as she approached the podium.

"I'm grateful to be here, that's for sure," Griner said. "I'm not going to take a day for granted."

She said being back on the court was a lot to take in.

"It was good, but at the same time, I was just sitting there, kind-of looking around, kind-of zoned out a little bit, cause I didn't think I'd be sitting here. I didn't think I'd be playing basketball this quickly," Griner said.

The Mercury center said being on the court again is what she's most looking forward to in the 2023 season.

Griner was arrested in February 2022 at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on drug-related charges. The U.S. traded Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner's release in December.

Griner, who had been in Russia to play basketball, said she will never play overseas again.

SEE MORE: Brittney Griner Back Home In U.S. After Russian Prisoner Swap


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