If LeBron James spent five months in Russian prison the way WNBA star Brittney Griner has, he’s not sure he’d want to return to the United States.
James addresses Griner’s detainment on a new episode of The Shop: Uninterrupted. And in a trailer for the upcoming episode, James was critical of the United States’ response to the Griner situation, questioning if it should make her rethink coming back to America.
“Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” James says in the trailer. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?’”
Griner has been in Russian custody since February when she was detained at a Moscow airport. She recently pled guilty to drug charges after accidentally bringing vape cartridges with hashish oil, a marijuana concentrate, into the country. Griner’s criminal trial, however, has widely been considered a sham, with experts believing Russia is using it to drive negotiations between them and the United States.
In June, James shared a message on Twitter “demanding” President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris bring Griner home “swiftly and safely.” Not much more than a month later, James appears bothered by how long the negotiations between the United States and Russia are taking, despite President Biden recently stating that his administration is working to get Griner home as soon as possible.
James’ comments about Griner’s situation also comes shortly after the WNBA star’s Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard claimed that if LeBron was the one who was taken into custody at a Russian airport, he would be home already.
“If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right? It’s a statement about the value of women,” Nygaard told reporters. “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. We know it.”
There is a lot of rational frustration surrounding Griner’s detainment. But after her detention was recently extended to December by Russian authorities and as she faces up to 10 years in prison, it’s hard to imagine Griner would agree with James’ seemingly irrational opinion that she should rethink coming home to the U.S. when the opportunity finally gets presented.