Brittney Griner made a live TV appearance for the first time since being released from a Russian prison. The WNBA star appeared at the 54th NAACP Image Awards on Saturday.
With the likes of Serena Williams, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade in the crowd, Griner and her wife, Cherelle, received a standing ovation.
"It feels so good to be here, especially with my beautiful, amazing wife and with all of y'all here today," Griner stated.
Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February 2022 for carrying cannabis oil, which she said was prescribed to treat pain. Griner was later convicted of trying to smuggle drugs into the country and sentenced to nine years in prison.
Griner was freed in December in a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia. The U.S. gave up arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner.
Many in the U.S. criticized the swap, saying President Joe Biden should have also demanded the release of former Marine Paul Whelan, who was sentenced on espionage charges, which he calls baseless, in 2020.
On Saturday, Griner called for the release of all Americans being held overseas.
"Let's keep fighting to bring home every American," she said.
Meanwhile, Griner appears to be ready to start where she left off before being detained in Russia. She signed a one-year deal to return to the Phoenix Mercury next season.