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Brittney Griner stands for the national anthem before the first game after the arrest

Brittney Griner stands for the national anthem before the first game after the arrest

WNBA star Brittney Griner returned to the basketball court Saturday for the first time since her arrest in Russia.

Griner stood with his teammates during the national anthem before the game. He had developed a habit of kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest, although this was before his traumatic imprisonment in a Russian penal colony last year.

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“Hearing the national anthem, it definitely felt different,” Griner told reporters after his first game back. “It’s like when you go to the Olympics, you’re sitting there, about to put the gold around your neck, the flags are going up and the anthem is playing, it’s just different. … Being here today … means a lot.”

Saturday’s game was Griner’s first since Game 4 of the 2021 WNBA Finals. That was before she was arrested in Russia for alleged drug possession in February 2022. Griner signed a one- a year worth $165,100 to join his team earlier this year, months after President Joe Biden approved a prisoner swap with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. get it back in December.

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Griner’s team, the Phoenix Mercury, faced off against the Los Angeles Sparks and eventually lost 71 to 90. The 6’9″ center, meanwhile, scored 10 points in 17 minutes with three additional rebounds.

As the number one draft pick in 2013, Griner finished the 2021 season averaging 20.5 points, 1.9 blocks and 2.7 assists per game. He also had a game-high 9.5 rebounds.

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