Brittney Griner’s agent describes the moment the WNBA star was reunited with his wife after being detained in Russia
Brittney Griner’s rep has described the moment the WNBA star and his wife, Cherelle Griner, were reunited in an airplane hangar in Texas after a heartbreaking 10 months.
After her imprisonment in Russia, Griner returned to the United States on Friday morning, landing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
Cherelle Griner, agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas and American officials were waiting for him there.
Colas told ESPN the reunion took place amid a carefully scripted arrival.
Before the plane arrived, they looked for a place where the couple could share a moment without being seen by the press cameras outside the base.
Someone noticed a black “X” stuck in an appropriate spot on the floor, so Cherelle just stood there and waited, Colas said.
When the plane landed, a medical team and a psychologist boarded first and spent about five minutes with the two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Then Griner disembarked from the plane, entered the hangar and shared a long hug with Cherelle as US officials stood about 20 yards away, Colas said. The couple then went to a “family room” which had been set up with some of Griner’s favorite snacks, including Cheetos, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Dr Pepper.
Griner was then taken to a base hospital, where she underwent a thorough evaluation.
On Sunday, she hit the basketball court for the first time in months at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. She has no plans to leave the base anytime soon, according to Colas, and has yet to decide if or when she will return to the WNBA.
“If she wants to play, it will be up to her to share. She has the holidays to rest and decide what happens next without any pressure,” Colas told ESPN. “She is doing really, really well. She seems to have endured this quite unbelievably.
Griner was released from Russia on Thursday in a prisoner swap for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Basketball star Phoenix Mercury was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after police said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in his luggage. Griner said she packed them by accident and had no intention of breaking the law.
She was sentenced in August to nine years in prison for drug possession. In November, she was transferred to a Russian penal colony to begin serving her sentence.
Cherelle Griner has worked hard with the media, government and others to bring her home. In a social media post on Saturday, she thanked the White House and a long list of others who she said helped make that goal a reality.
“Yesterday my heart was healed thanks to the collective efforts of MANY! I am humbled by their hearts. Caring for another, a stranger for some, a friend for some, is humanity in its purest form! she wrote. “As BG and I begin our journey to heal our minds, bodies and spirits, I personally wanted to say thank you to some of the hands; seen and invisible, it allowed me to see my wife again!
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