NBA

LeBron James on Brittney Griner’s return: ‘It’s a great day’

LeBron James on Brittney Griner’s return: ‘It’s a great day’

Britney Griner is a free woman afterwards 294 days behind bars in Russiain relief of almost everyone in the basketball world. This includes lebron james.

The Los Angeles Lakers The star applauded Griner’s return during his alternate stream of “The Shop” from “Thursday Night Football,” several hours after Russia was reported he had agreed to release her in exchange for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Speaking with friend and business partner Maverick Carter during a video conference (the Lakers are currently on an East Coast road trip), James said Griner’s release was an important cause for the basketball world, while which acknowledged the existence of other Americans wrongfully detained in foreign countries:

“I think it’s a great day. For us as Americans, I think coming back to BG, the world of sports, just having his family’s back, I know his wife misses her and her family misses her, her club misses her here in Phoenix. To have her as part of the basketball fraternity, it’s a great day for us and what we do. Congratulations to the president, congratulations to Kamala Harris and everyone who had anything to do with it. Like Mav said, there’s a lot. people who are being held illegally right now. We hope we can get them all.”

Most prominent among the Americans detained is Paul Whelan, who has been imprisoned in Russia for almost four years.

US officials tried to secure freedom for both Griner and Whelan in exchange for Bout for months, but Russia consistently rejected any proposal to free the 52-year-old ex-Marine, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges of espionage. Even when offered a direct exchange from Whelan-for-Bout, Russia as reported he was reluctant to negotiate.

James was one of a litany of NBA and WNBA basketball players who called for more urgent efforts to free Griner, an effort that sparked controversy in July when James apparently wondered if Griner should want to return to the US in a clip from “The Shop.”

Griner’s flight back to the US will be just the first step in his comeback, as Phoenix Mercury The star will likely need a significant amount of time to recover both physically and mentally Russia’s notoriously grueling prison conditions. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert has said as much she will be given time and space before the league commits to her.

Brittney Griner is out of Russia after 294 days behind bars. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, file)





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