LeBron James Speaks Out About Brittney Griner’s Detention in Russia

by Nick Geddes

As WNBA star Brittney Griner remains “wrongfully detained” in Russia as labeled by the U.S. government, LeBron James is questioning if she should even want to return to America.

The Los Angeles Lakers forward spoke about the efforts to bring Griner home during the latest trailer of HBO’s “The Shop: Uninterrupted.”

“Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” LeBron James said. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even wanna go back to America?’”

Brittney Griner has Been Detained in Russia Since February

Brittney Griner, who was detained on Feb. 17 for being in possession of vape cartridges containing hashish oil at a Russian airport, pleaded guilty to the charges last Thursday. She pleaded guilty just four days after Russian authorities extended her detention to at least December. Griner is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison for the offense.

“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” Griner said in court.

Calls to Bring Brittney Griner Home have Yet to Be Answered

President Joe Biden and his administration have received countless amounts of requests to organize Griner’s return to the states. Griner herself penned a letter to Biden last Monday.

“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” Griner wrote. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year. I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees.

“Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”

On July 5, Phoenix Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard compared Griner to James, in that he would be home already if it were him in detention.

“If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right?” Nygaard said, via Sports Illustrated’s Joseph Salvador. “It’s a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of those things. We know it, and so that’s what hurts a little more.”