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'Happy to be home': Griner speaks out for first time since release from Russian custody

Mercury Griner WNBA Basketball
Mercury Griner WNBA Basketball
Posted at 1:05 PM, Dec 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-16 14:10:24-05

Brittney Griner is happy to be home.

“It feels so good to be home!” Griner posted to Instagram, ABC News and The Associated Press reported. "The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help."

Griner's statement on Friday marks the first comment since she was released from a Russian prison earlier this month after being arrested in February on drug-related charges.

For months the Biden administration worked on bringing home the 32-year-old and another American detainee Paul Whelan, the Associated Press reported.

On Dec. 8, President Joe Biden announced that Griner was being released in a prisoner swap in the United Arab Emirates for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the news outlets reported.

"President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too,” Griner said in her statement, the news outlets reported. “I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.”

As she continued in her statement, the WNBA star expressed how "grateful" she was to those who helped her make it home, including thanking the staff and medical team at the military facility in Texas where she was recuperating since arriving in the U.S., the news outlets reported.

Griner also said she is already looking forward to playing professional basketball again with the Phoenix Mercury, saying she intends "to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon," the Associated Press reported.

Griner said in her statement that she'll “transition home to enjoy the holidays with my family” but didn't say exactly where.