Though Brittney Griner remains locked up, support back home in the United States continues to grow.
Griner has missed many monumental moments while being held in Russia– both personal and professional. Of those is the WNBA All-Star game set to take place on Sunday, July 10, in the host city of Chicago at Wintrust Arena. But like the NBA, co-captains will draft their top-notch squad a week prior to the festivities. But with Griner likely missing out, she’s been selected as an honorary All-Star Game starter to represent the Phoenix Mercury.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert made the announcement this week, recognizing Griner’s talents that led to her 7 All-Star game selections and the need to bring her back stateside.
“During each season of Brittney’s career in which there has been an All-Star Game, she has been selected as an All-Star,” Engelbert said in a statement. “It is not difficult to imagine that if B.G. were here with us this season, she would once again be selected and would, no doubt, show off her incredible talents. So, it is only fitting that she be named as an honorary starter today, and we continue to work on her safe return to the U.S.”
Aside from the All-Star game, Griner also missed out on speaking to her wife Cherelle on their wedding anniversary due to inadequate staffing at Russia’s U.S. Embassy.
“I was distraught. I was hurt. I was done, fed up,” Cherelle Griner told The Associated Press of the missed opportunity. “I’m pretty sure I texted B.G.’s agent and was like: ‘I don’t want to talk to anybody. It’s going to take me a minute to get my emotions together and just tell everybody I’m unavailable right now. Because it just knocked me out. I wasn’t well, I’m still not well.”
Griner’s imprisonment –after Russian officials accused her of having vape cartridges at Sheremetyevo International Airport –has recently been extended to July 2 as the U.S. State Department plots a way to end her unlawful detainment.