American basketball star who returned from detention in Russia, Brittney Grainer, said she was “grateful” to return to the United States and plans to play basketball again next season for the “Venice Marcory” team.
Grainer’s statement came a week after her release from a Russian prison, and her liberation in a prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.
“It feels so good to be home!” Grainer wrote on Instagram on Friday.
“The past 10 months have been a battle at every turn,” Greiner added in her first public statement since her release. “I have thought deeply to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that kept me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you everyone for your help.”
“I want to say very clearly: I intend to play basketball for the Phoenix Mercury in the North American Women’s Professional League this season,” according to the statement.
Grainer was arrested on charges of drug trafficking when she arrived in Russia, in February, to play for the Yekaterinburg team after the end of the American League season, which is a common habit among female basketball players.
She was sentenced to nine years in prison, and was released after long negotiations in exchange for the release of the Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, who was serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.
Last Friday, the Olympic champion touched a ball for the first time since her release, during a brief training session at a military base in San Antonio, Texas.
In her statement, Grainer thanked the US President, Joe Biden, and the Phoenix Mercury team, confirming that she will play again in his ranks this season.