Listen to this article here
Despite being “wrongfully detained” in Russia for months, WNBA star Brittney Griner will now have a place at the WNBA All-Star Game, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced on Wednesday.
Facing a potential 10-year prison sentence if convicted for allegedly having cannabis extracts in her luggage on Feb. 17, Russian authorities have continuously extended her detainment for months.
“During each season of Brittney’s career in which there has been an All-Star Game, she has been selected as an All-Star,” Engelbert said. “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.”
After the U.S. State Department designated her as “wrongfully detained” in May, her case was moved under the supervision of the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs. With the government’s chief negotiator working on her behalf, fans and family members anxiously await her return.
Last week, Russian State News Tass announced Brittney Griner’s detainment had been extended to at least July 2.
Brittney Griner’s presence will be felt at WNBA All-Star Game
Per the AP, Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson received the most votes from fans and will serve as co-captains for the event. Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles, will join them. Bird will set a record with her 13th All-Star appearance. Fowles was selected for her eighth game, despite being injured.
Stewart and Fowles will serve as co-captains, as will Wilson and Bird, and will choose their teams.
The league’s coaches will vote for the 12 reserves and the co-captains will draft their rosters on July 2. The game takes place on July 10 in Chicago. A 3-point competition and skills challenge will take place on July 9.
It’s unlikely Brittney Griner will be freed in time to participate in the game, but the honorary designation serves as a national reminder of her detainment.