WNBA star Brittney Griner is slowly getting back into her regular life after spending 10 months in a Russian prison. On Dec. 11, the 32-year-old athlete played basketball at the Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, according to her agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas, who told ESPN that Brittney’s first move on the court was a dunk. Brittney’s rep, Bryce Marsee, gave an update on Brittney in a statement to HollywoodLife.
“Our focus is on Brittney’s mental and physical health after what she has been through the last nine months. 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,” the rep told us.
Brittney has been living in a hotel at Fort Sam Houston with her wife, Cherelle Griner, ever since she came home from Russia on December 9. Brittney’s agent told ESPN that she hasn’t decided if she’ll return to her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury. “If she wants to play, it will be for her to share. She has the holidays to rest and decide what’s next without any pressure,” Brittney’s agent explained. “She’s doing really, really well. She seems to have endured this in pretty incredible ways.” The agent also revealed that Brittney will probably release a statement about her future in basketball “this week.”
Instead of basketball, Brittney wants to focus on helping other Americans who are wrongfully imprisoned in other countries, her agent said to ESPN. One of the people Brittney wants to help is former US Marine Paul Whelan, who is being held in Russia after being accused of espionage. President Joe Biden‘s administration was unable to negotiate the release of Paul.
Brittney was arrested for possession of marijuana vape cartridges in March, shortly after Russia’s war with Ukraine began. She was tried and found guilty in August. Despite her lawyer’s appeals, she was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony, which she had been transferred to the penal colony in November before her release was finalized. Brittney’s imprisonment in Russia had been protested, with many Americans calling for her release, as well as officials speaking out on her behalf.
On Dec. 9, Brittney was photographed getting off an aircraft in San Antonio, Texas where she reunited with her wife and her parents. Brittney was released in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who had been arrested in 2008 for conspiring to kill Americans.