Britney Griner remains detained in a Russian prison after allegedly being found with a marijuana concentrate in her luggage. However, that will not prevent her from being a presence at the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game.
There were hopes that Griner would be released this month but her detention date was recently extended to July 2. That also happens to be one week before this year’s All-Star Game and the league has announced that the Phoenix Mercury star will be an honorary All-Star and starter.
“During each season of Brittney’s career in which there has been an All-Star Game, she has been selected as an All-Star,” said Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in the WNBA’s All-Star team announcement. “It is not difficult to imagine that if BG were here with us this season, she would once again be selected and would, no doubt, show off her incredible talents. So, it is only fitting that she be named as an honorary starter today and we continue to work on her safe return to the U.S.”
The move will help keep the spotlight on the now-eight-time WNBA All-Star as more people call for the U.S. government to step up efforts to get her released from a Russian prison. The situation is certainly more nuanced than just asking Russia to release her, but it’s unlikely that advocates, friends, and family will stop pushing until Griner is released.
The 2022 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game will take place at Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Sunday, July 10.