Brittney Griner made her first public statement since being released from a Russian prison last week.
Griner, 32, left an Army medical facility in Texas for a trip back home to Arizona on Friday.
In an Instagram post, the Phoenix Mercury center thanked her supports and comfirmed she plans to play for the WNBA this season.
“It feels so good to be home! 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 said in the post, dated Friday, Dec. 16.
“I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend 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,” she said.
“I am grateful to each person who advocated for me, especially my wife, Cherelle Griner, my family, Lindsay Kagawa Colas and Casey Wasserman and my whole team at Wasserman, Vince Kozar and the Phoenix Mercury, the players of the WNBA, and my entire WNBA family, Terri Jackson and the WNBPA staff, my Russian legal team Maria Blagovolina and Alex Boykov, the leaders, activists, and grassroots organizations, Gov. Richardson and Mickey Bergman of the Richardson Center, the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, Roger Carstens and the SPEHA team, and of course, a special thank you to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken and the entire Biden-Harris Administration.”
Griner didn’t mention her critics, including former President Donald Trump, who slammed the U.S. government for exchanging the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, a.k.a. “the “Merchant of Death.”
Griner was detained at a Moscow Airport in February after officials discovered vape pens with cannabis oil in her luggage. She was convicted in August and sentenced to serve 9 years in prison.