After over ten months of incarceration in Russia, Brittney Griner played with her Phoenix Mercury for the first time since 2021 on Friday
After being detained in February 2022 on drug-related accusations, the two-time Olympic gold medallist was freed from a Russian correctional colony in a high-profile prisoner swap with the United States late last year.
"I had no idea how getting back into it would go. Thankful to be here, that much is certain.
At Phoenix's Footprint Center on Friday, Griner was greeted to cheers of jubilation as she emerged from the tunnel and stepped onto the court.
The eight-time All-Star opened the scoring with a two-point shot in the first minute and finished the game with 10 points and three rebounds in 17 minutes.
Before her arrest, Griner was one of the most powerful players in the Women's National Basketball Association, but she acknowledged she had a long way to go before she was back to her former self.
Griner gave a withering assessment of her defensive performance: "I didn't feel like I was gassed or dying."
Since she returned to the United States, the two-time WNBA scoring champion has drawn a lot of media attention and used her great platform to advocate for other Americans who are imprisoned abroad.