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Griner is back on the floor

Brittney Griner returned to the basketball court and played her first official game for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA in almost two years.

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) blocks a shot by Los Angeles Sparks guard Dearica Hamby (5)
Jayne Kamin-OnceaUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The renowned basketball player Brittney Griner, widely recognized as arguably one of the best in the world, has made a triumphant return to the court after enduring a period of incarceration in Russia on charges of cannabis possession.

In a captivating showdown between her team, the Phoenix Mercury, and the Sparks, held at the renowned Crypto Arena in Los Angeles, Griner showcased her unique basketball skills, despite her team’s 94-71 loss. Brittney Griner returned to compete in the WNBA this Friday, 579 days later. She was the best of the Phoenix Mercury with 18 points without being able to avoid the defeat against the Los Angeles Sparks on a night in which American basketball paid a heartfelt tribute to her.

The game was part of the Commissioner’s Cup, a trial event before its establishment in the NBA. The Cup selects specific regular league matches for an alternate ranking that grants entry to a mid-season playoff tournament.

Many celebrities in attendance did not want to miss the return of Brittney Griner, such as Lakers legend Magic Johnson, tennis player Billy Jean King, hall of famer Dawn Staley, and Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

Notably, the event garnered additional significance as it was graced by the presence of Kamala Harris, the United States Vice President, who attended the match to show her support for Griner. Reflecting on her comeback, Griner expressed her delight: "I feel great. The most important thing is that I am back on the field and doing what I love again."

The international community closGriner’sowed Griner’s ordeal in Russia, eventually leading to a remarkable exchange between Russia and America. As a result, Griner was able to return to her home country, while Viktor Bout, a notorious arms dealer, was extradited to Russia.

Brittney Griner will make her official debut in front of her fans at the Footprint Center on Sunday, May 21.