WNBA star Griner enjoys the MLK Jr. parade in Phoenix, a month after he was freed from the Russian penal camp

Brittney breaks cover! WNBA star Griner enjoys the MLK Jr. parade in Phoenix, a month after he was freed from Russia’s penal camp thanks to a prisoner swap

  • Less than six weeks after her release from a Russian prison, Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner surprised a group of people at an MLK march in Phoenix
  • She performed at the event with her wife Cherelle and took photos with excited fans
  • Griner was arrested for carrying marijuana vape cartridges through an airport in Russia in February 2021
  • She spent over ten months in a Russian penal colony before being released
  • Arizona, the state hosting the event, was the last state to recognize the MLK holiday in 1992 after it was declared a federal holiday in 1983

Phoenix Mercury superstar Brittney Griner made a surprise appearance at an MLK Day march in Phoenix, just six weeks after his release from a Russian prison.

She attended the event with her wife Cherelle and happily posed for photos with excited fans.

Griner has a special connection to Arizona, having played her entire WNBA career at Mercury after a successful college career at Baylor University in Texas.

The march took place on Martin Luther King Jr.’s 94th birthday.

Arizona was the last state to recognize MLK Jr. Day in 1992 after it was declared a federal holiday by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, although it was first observed in 1986.

Less than six weeks after her release from a Russian prison, Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner surprised a group of people at an MLK march in Phoenix

Less than six weeks after her release from a Russian prison, Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner surprised a group of people at an MLK march in Phoenix

Griner surprised a group of people gathered for an MLK day march in Phoenix

Griner surprised a group of people gathered for an MLK day march in Phoenix

Griner returned to the United States with a different look after being forced to trim her dreadlocks due to extremely cold temperatures in Russia

Griner returned to the United States with a different look after being forced to trim her dreadlocks due to extremely cold temperatures in Russia

Griner missed the 2021-22 WNBA season after being arrested in Russia for carrying marijuana vape cartridges through an airport in February.

She spent over ten months in a Russian penal colony and was released in a prisoner swap for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

After Griner’s arrest at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, she pleaded guilty in July but had to face trial because admitting guilt in the Russian justice system does not automatically end a case.

She admitted in court that she possessed canisters of cannabis oil, but said she had no criminal intent and accidentally packed them. Her defense team submitted written statements that her cannabis had been prescribed to treat pain.

After her release, Griner wrote on Instagram: “It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a struggle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love of so many of you that helped me move on. From the bottom of my heart I thank everyone for their help.”

Griner will be shown on August 4 after pleading guilty in Russia. She was sentenced to nine years in prison and placed in a prison colony

Griner will be shown on August 4 after pleading guilty in Russia. She was sentenced to nine years in prison and placed in a prison colony

Fans of the basketball star looked happy to be with her as they posed next to her on Monday

Fans of the basketball star looked happy to be with her as they posed next to her on Monday

Many fans got the chance to pose with the Phoenix Mercury star on Monday

Many fans got the chance to pose with the Phoenix Mercury star on Monday

Ms Cherelle Griner posted a selection of pictures of her and Brittany at Monday's parade

Ms Cherelle Griner posted a selection of pictures of her and Brittany at Monday’s parade

On December 9, after nearly 10 months in prison, Griner was swapped for Viktor Bout in a prison swap (pictured left in red).

On December 9, after nearly 10 months in prison, Griner was swapped for Viktor Bout in a prison swap (pictured left in red).

Griner returned to the United States with a different look after being forced to trim her dreadlocks due to extremely cold temperatures in Russia. She has kept a low profile since her release.

Griner’s case drew attention to issues of inequality and injustice against which Dr. King fought while he was alive.

Her presence at the MLK Day march was seen as a powerful and symbolic reminder of the ongoing fight for equality.

Griner appeared to be in good spirits as she stepped off the plane to freedom last month

Griner appeared to be in good spirits as she stepped off the plane to freedom last month

Cherelle Griner, 30, held her wife, 32, particularly tight after they got off the plane in San Antonio after 294 days of separation

Cherelle Griner, 30, held her wife, 32, particularly tight after they got off the plane in San Antonio after 294 days of separation

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“I just held on. I couldn’t let her go,” Cherelle (left) said of their time apart. Brittney (right) was arrested on February 17 after being taken into custody for carrying a vape pen containing hash oil. She was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison colony

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Bradford Betz

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