U.S. basketball player Greiner said she was pleased to return to the games
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Phoenix Mercury player Brittney Greiner, who was sentenced to nine years in Russia, admitted after her return to playing that she felt the love of fans from a distance.
Friday’s 71-94 WNBA game between the Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks marked Greiner’s official return to the court. She played her first game since October 2021. Greiner scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds.
“It was nice to be back on the court, in a real game. The love from the players and the fans was amazing. I definitely felt it, and I felt it when I was there (in Russia),” said Greiner, who was quoted by Fox News.
Greiner had played for UMMC Yekaterinburg since 2015. In February 2022, Greiner, who arrived on a flight from New York City, was detained at Sheremetyevo airport. During a search of her hand luggage, the American citizen was found to be carrying a vape with a specific odor and weighing slightly less than a gram (0.702 gram), which the experts later determined to be hashish oil. In August the Khimki court sentenced the athlete to nine years in prison and fined her one million rubles. In December, the basketball player was exchanged for Russian businessman Victor Bout, who was serving a 25-year sentence in the United States on charges of plotting to kill U.S. citizens and materially supporting terrorism. She signed with Phoenix in February.
Griner, 32, is one of the world’s most decorated basketball players. As a member of the U.S. national team, Greiner was a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion. Center is in the official list of 25 best players in NBA women’s basketball.