Sunday, July 3, 2022

Brittney Griner named honorary All-Star and starter by WNBA while detained in Russia

Brittany Griner Getty Images WNBA All-Star Game
Getty Images

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner will miss this year’s WNBA All-Star Game as she continues her pretrial detainment in Russia. However, the league is still including Griner in the event by naming her 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.” 

Griner, now an eight-time WNBA All-Star, has been detained since February 17 after being arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport on drug charges. She is currently set to remain in custody until at least July 2. 

Many have spoken out about how long the nightmare scenario has been going on. Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams shared a message the day after the All-Star starters were announced.

“We are on day 126 since Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained. I’ll say that again, 126 days,” he said. “Me, my family and my staff, we pray for Brittney a lot. We have to keep her at the forefront.”

Ten other players were voted as starters for next month’s game. Breanna Stewart and Sylvia Fowles will serve as co-captains for one team, while A’ja Wilson and Sue Bird lead the opposite bench. Bird will be making her 13th All-Star appearance before she retires at the conclusion of the 2022 season. 

The 2022 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game will take place at Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Sunday, July 10  at 1 p.m. ET.

For a complete look at the Griner’s situation, read the CBS Sports explainer here.   

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