Brittney Griner Will ‘Receive The Celebration She Deserves’ Says Phoenix Mercury Rep (Exclusive)

A Phoenix Mercury rep said the team will 'take Brittney's lead on when and how she is welcomed back.'

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Image Credit: EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/REUTERS POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

After Brittney Griner touched down in San Antonio on Dec.  9, 2022, following her release from a Russian prison, questions remain about how she will celebrate her newfound freedom. With 294 days spent in a Moscow detention center for being found guilty on drug smuggling charges, there’s no doubt the athlete will want to mark the occasion with family and friends, including her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury. Bryce Marsee, the Manager of Basketball Communications for Phoenix Suns & Phoenix Mercury, EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife that the organization is ready to make it happen.

Brittney Griner will receive a welcome home ‘she deserves,’ per a Phoenix Mercury spokesperson. (EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/REUTERS POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

“We will follow Brittney’s lead on when and how she is officially welcomed back by fans, media, and our organization,” Marsee explained. “Rest assured, when the time is right, she’ll receive the celebration she deserves.”

As for Brittney’s return to the basketball court, Marsee said there may be more important things to focus on now after the 32-year-old’s grueling ordeal. “Our focus is on Brittney’s mental and physical health after what she has been through the last nine months,” he said. “We know she loves basketball and it’s one of the things that has been taken away from her, but at this time that is not the main priority.”

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced the release of Brittney, who was reportedly freed in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Bout, who had been arrested in 2008 for conspiring to kill Americans, had served 10 years of a 25-year sentence. Biden also confirmed Brittney’s safe release on Twitter. “Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner,” he wrote. “She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home.” Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, was with the President, as the prisoner release was confirmed.

Brittney was initially arrested in March when she arrived at a Moscow airport with marijuana vape cartridges in her luggage. After pleading guilty in July 2022, she was sentenced to 9 years in prison. Her arrest came as Russia began its war against Ukraine, and many believe the athlete’s detention was being used by the Kremlin for political gains.

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