/ Go to the mediabankBrittney Griner / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaWASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US basketball player Brittney Griner said on Friday in the first public statement since her release from incarceration in Russia that she intends to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) again for the Phoenix Mercury. “It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn,” Griner said. “I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for him in person soon.” Earlier this year, Griner was convicted of transporting cannabis oil into Russia and sentenced to nine years in prison. Griner was freed earlier this month in a prisoner exchange involving Russian businessman Viktor Bout. Sputnik ExplainsEverything You Need to Know About the Bout-Griner Exchange10 December 2022, 12:19 GMTGriner thanked US President Joe Biden for his administration’s efforts to secure her release, as well as her Russian legal team and the Fort Hood medical team for their assistance. Griner said she would use her platform to help secure the release of Paul Whelan, a US citizen imprisoned in Russia on espionage charges. Biden attempted to secure Whelan’s release alongside Griner, but failed due to Russia considering the nature of his crimes to be more serious, according to the White House.