UPDATED 2/21/23, 10:00 p.m. ET: Brittney Griner is back on the court.
The WNBA star was photographed smiling in her Phoenix Mercury practice gear on Tuesday. The team took to Instagram to share a few pictures (above), writing, “There she is.”
Griner just signed a new one-year contract with the team. General manager Jim Pitman told the Associated Press, “We missed BG every day that she was gone and, while basketball was not our primary concern, her presence on the floor, in our locker room, around our organization, and within our community was greatly missed. We will continue to use the resources of our organization to support her, on and off the floor, and we are thrilled for her that she gets to return to basketball, which she loves so dearly. This is a special signing and today is a special day for all of us.”
Per Insider, Griner had to take a 32 percent pay cut to rejoin her teammates. In 2013, the eight-time All-Star was drafted first overall to Phoenix.
The organization shared other Griner posts on social media as well, including a motivational locker room note and highlight clip, writing, "No. 42 is power, prestige, and passion.”
See original story from 12/26/22 below.
“It feels so good to be home!” wrote Griner alongside a photo of her leaving the plane that brought her back to the States, and another of her hugging her wife Cherelle Griner. “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.”
Griner thanked everyone who personally helped organize her release, including Cherelle and the Biden-Harris Administration. She also announced her intentions to play for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season.
“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too,” she continued. “I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.”
The 32-year-old said she looks forward to returning to the court, and thanked everyone who advocated, wrote, or posted for her return.
Griner was freed in a prisoner swap that saw the U.S. release convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout last week. Biden confirmed the news in a tweet, where he said he spoke to Griner and said she was coming home. Her family shared a statement to express “sincere gratitude” to Biden and others who helped end her wrongful detainment, which stemmed from her arrest in Moscow in February over the possession of hash oil cartridges.