Brittney Griner, the Phoenix Mercury superstar, surprised a crowd at the MLK Jr. Day march in Phoenix, just 39 days after her release from a Russian penal colony.
Griner was arrested in February for carrying marijuana vape cartridges through an airport in Russia and was sentenced to 10 months in a penal colony. Her release was part of a prisoner exchange for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The athlete returned to the United States with a new look, having been forced to cut her dreads due to the brutally cold temperatures in Russia. Since her release, she has maintained a low profile.
HAPPY TO BE HOME: @PhoenixMercury star @brittneygriner makes appearance at #AZMLK Festival in Phoenix.
BG posed for pictures with fans.
Talked about being Houstonians.
Says she’s happy to be home after time in Russian prison.#News #AZ #BG42 #Hoops #WNBA pic.twitter.com/G2ocB8fEqO
— Jonathan McCall (@JonathanMcCall) January 16, 2023
However, on the third Monday of January, Griner, accompanied by her wife Cherelle, attended the MLK Jr. Day march in Phoenix, paying homage to the civil rights leader and remembering his legacy.
This was particularly significant given the questions raised about inequality and injustice during Griner’s arrest and incarceration in Russia.
Arizona was the last state to recognize MLK Jr. Day, which was first observed in 1986, after President Ronald Reagan signed a law making it a federal holiday in 1983. It wasn’t until 1992 that Arizona officially recognized the holiday.
Griner has a special relationship with Arizona, having played her entire WNBA career with the Mercury after dominating in college at Baylor. The star player, who stands at 6’9″ tall, is known for her incredible skill on the court, and her fans were thrilled to see her at the MLK Jr. Day march.
It’s worth noting that Griner missed the 2021-22 WNBA season due to her arrest and incarceration in Russia. It remains to be seen if and when she’ll return to the court, but one thing is for sure, her presence at the MLK Jr. Day march shows her commitment to remembering the important legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the ongoing fight for civil rights and equality.
The Phoenix Mercury superstar was arrested in February for carrying marijuana vape cartridges through an airport in Russia. She was sentenced to 10 months in a Russian penal colony and was only released in a prisoner exchange for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
It remains to be seen if and when Griner will return to the court, but her presence at the march shows her commitment to remembering the important legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.